Myths About Orthodontic Care (That Might Surprise You!)

November 2nd, 2023

Welcome to our myth-busting blog, where we’re here to set the record straight about orthodontic care! It’s time to debunk some common misconceptions and provide solutions to orthodontics-related questions you may have. Say goodbye to confusion and hello to a brighter, healthier smile. Let’s dive in and dispel some of these myths together:

Myth #1: Dental health doesn’t affect a person’s overall health

This one is particularly alarming because it undermines the crucial connection between your oral health and your overall well-being. Your mouth is not isolated from the rest of your body—it’s an integral part of it. 

Poor dental health has been linked to various systemic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory problems. Neglecting your oral health can lead to gum disease and tooth decay, which may affect your overall health in the long run. 

Solution: Regular dental checkups are essential to maintaining good oral health. Brushing and flossing daily can help prevent plaque buildup and reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Additionally, visit your orthodontist for comprehensive evaluations to ensure that your teeth and jaw are in proper alignment and functioning well!

Myth #2: I can fix orthodontic issues at home

The rise of DIY trends and internet hacks might tempt some individuals to try and fix their orthodontic problems themselves. However, attempting to straighten your teeth or adjust your bite yourself can lead to potentially irreversible damage, tooth loss, and even infections. Orthodontic treatment requires specialized knowledge and skills, so you should never try to address orthodontic issues at home. 

Solution: Always seek professional care from a qualified orthodontist, such as our team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. We will evaluate your unique dental condition, create a personalized treatment plan, and utilize safe and effective methods to achieve the best results for you. 

Myth #3: Orthodontic treatment is only for children

While it’s true that orthodontic treatment is often associated with adolescence, it’s never too late to improve your smile and oral health. Orthodontic issues can develop or persist well into adulthood. In fact, adult orthodontic treatments have become increasingly popular in recent years as advancements in technology have made them more discreet and comfortable. 

Solution: If you have concerns about your teeth or jaw alignment, don’t hesitate to consult with one of our qualified orthodontists, regardless of your age. They will assess your condition and recommend the most suitable treatment option for you. From braces to clear aligners to surgical orthodontics, we offer a wide variety of care options that will enable you to achieve your smile goals at any age. 

Myth #4: Orthodontic care is purely cosmetic

While achieving a beautiful smile is one of the outcomes of orthodontic treatment, orthodontics is about more than aesthetics. Correcting misaligned teeth and jaw problems can significantly enhance your oral health, overall well-being, and quality of life. Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, which reduces the risk of cavities and gum disease. A balanced bite can also help alleviate jaw pain, headaches, and other discomforts.

Solution: Recognize that orthodontic treatment is not just about looks—it’s an investment in your long-term health and well-being! 

Understanding the truth behind these common myths is essential for making informed decisions about your orthodontic care. Proper dental health is intricately connected to your overall health, and seeking professional orthodontic treatment is vital for achieving a healthy, confident smile. 

If you have any questions or concerns about your dental condition, reach out to us at (708) 636-2900, schedule a virtual consultation, or request an in-person appointment on our website! Our team of providers will help guide you through your journey to a healthier smile. 

Best and Worst Halloween Candies for Braces

October 14th, 2023

With the Halloween season underfoot, it is important for everyone undergoing orthodontic treatment to be mindful of what they’re eating around this sugary holiday. If your child has braces this Halloween, here is a guide for the absolute worst candies (AKA, the ones that could break brackets and extend treatment time) to the ones that are fine in moderation.

The worst candies for orthodontic treatment

We recommend skipping these candies altogether. Your child may chew them, resulting in broken appliances or sticky, sugary pieces getting stuck in braces. This could lead to bent wires, popped off brackets, damaged appliances like palatal expanders, stains, or even chipped teeth! Steer clear when it comes to these treats.

  • Hard candy: This includes JOLLY RANCHERs, Werther’s Original, hard LIFE SAVERS, or anything that could potentially break an appliance when chewed. Even just sucking on these candies will cover your teeth in a thick layer of sugar that can get trapped under the braces and lead to plaque buildup and cavities.
  • Taffy or chewy candy: Think LaffyTaffy or Tootsie Rolls—these candies are notorious for getting stuck in braces (and taking their time getting out).
  • Crunchy or nutty candy: Turtles, ALMOND JOY, and Peanut M&M’S may be tasty, but they also put you at risk of breaking a wire or popping off a bracket while you chew them.
  • Acidic candies: SKITTLES, STARBURST, and sour gummy worms are all sweets to avoid. Not only are their chewy textures treacherous for those with braces, but their intense flavoring means they contain a high level of acid, which can break down enamel.

Better candy options for braces

These candies are a safer choice for your kiddos, as they are soft, melty, and much less likely to damage appliances while being chewed. Still, it’s important to consume these treats in moderation and brush and floss thoroughly!

  • Nougat-filled chocolate bars: 3 MUSKETEERS is the best example of this—nougat has a lighter texture than other fillings and washes away from appliances.
  • Wafers: Although they are crunchy, wafer candies, like KitKats, don’t tend to get stuck in teeth or braces and aren’t hard enough to damage your braces.

  • Peanut butter cups: Can you think of a better duo than chocolate and peanut butter? These are a fan-favorite option, as they are soft on the teeth and don’t have little pieces that get stuck in braces.
  • Plain chocolate: Think HERSHEY’S KISSES or bars! This classic treat melts in the mouth and can be brushed off of braces easily.
  • Peppermint patties: Here’s another option that’s soft on braces and teeth! Plus, it will even leave you with minty-fresh breath (but don’t think about using minty candy as a substitute for great oral hygiene!).

This Halloween, remember to enjoy the special day—without putting your child’s teeth or appliances at risk. If you have any questions or want to set up your next appointment, call Petty & Bielik Orthodontics at 708-636-2900.

From Crooked to Confident: How Orthodontics Can Boost Your Self-Esteem

September 22nd, 2023

Do you find yourself hiding your smile in social situations or avoiding photographs due to misaligned teeth? If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with self-esteem issues that stem from dental imperfections, as a crooked smile can significantly impact one’s confidence. 

Thankfully, modern orthodontic care offers transformative solutions customized to suit your unique needs. Straightening your teeth not only offers numerous health benefits, but it also has the power to improve your self-esteem and give you newfound confidence. Here are our favorite ways to boost patients' smiles at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics!

Orthodontics and self-confidence

  1. Enhanced appearance: A confident smile is a powerful asset. Straight teeth can dramatically improve your appearance, making you feel more attractive and boosting your self-esteem. You’ll no longer feel the need to cover your mouth or shy away from expressing joy!
  2. Positive self-image: Correcting dental misalignment can help to completely reshape your self-perception. As your teeth start to align, you’ll notice a positive change in the way you perceive yourself, leading to improved confidence and a more optimistic outlook on life.
  3. Increased comfort in social settings: With newfound confidence in your smile, social interactions become less daunting. Whether it’s a job interview, a first date, or a group outing, you’ll find yourself more at ease, which allows your genuine personality to shine through.
  4. Improved professional success: A confident smile can impact your professional life, too! Research has suggested that individuals with great smiles are often perceived as being more approachable, trustworthy, and competent, which can lead to better career prospects and advancement.
  5. Better oral health habits: Orthodontic treatments such as braces or clear aligners require diligent oral care. As patients invest time and effort into maintaining their orthodontic appliances, they tend to develop better oral hygiene habits, which leads to healthier teeth and gums.

Orthodontic solutions: personalized and efficient

Advancements in orthodontic technology have made treatment plans more efficient, comfortable, and convenient than ever. From traditional braces to discreet clear aligners, patients can choose the option that best suits their needs, preferences, and lifestyle. At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, our advanced orthodontic techniques always leave patients with a smile.

If you’ve ever felt self-conscious about your smile, consulting with an experienced orthodontist is a great first step toward a transformative change. When you schedule a consultation with us, one of our qualified orthodontists will assess your unique dental needs and discuss the most suitable treatment options for you. 

Investing in your smile means investing in yourself—your confidence, happiness, and overall well-being. So why wait? Take that first step on the journey from crooked to confident today! Call us at 708-636-2900, request an appointment online, or schedule a virtual consultation. We look forward to joining you on your smile journey.

Back-to-School Braces Tips Based on Your Extracurricular Activity!

September 8th, 2023

Back-to-school season is busy for everyone. However, it can be particularly chaotic if you’re adjusting to classes, homework, and your extracurricular activities—all while undergoing orthodontic treatment. If this is your first schoolyear with braces, here are some tips for taking care of your smile during various types of extracurricular activities, from sports and dance to music and theatre.

For young athletes:

If your after-school schedule is packed with practice, rehearsals, and games, there are some essential ways to take care of your mouth and braces. After all, orthodontic treatment doesn’t have to mean putting your athletic aspirations on the sidelines. To keep your teeth and braces safe, make sure to:

  • Wear a mouthguard. Whether you’re at risk for a contact-based injury (i.e., football), a ball to the face, or a fall (i.e., dance/gymnastics), this safety measure is incredibly important for kids with braces. One accident can throw off the entire treatment process by weeks or months, which can be expensive, painful, and time-consuming. Fortunately, there are plenty of mouthguards that fit comfortably over braces and provide protection for your teeth, lips, and gums.
  • Avoid sugary sports drinks and snacks. Sports drinks and energy bars are a great source of energy, but often contain lots of sugar. Because it’s harder to keep your teeth clean when you have braces, it’s easier for sugar to build up on the teeth and cause cavities. Therefore, we recommend opting for sugar-free sports drinks and snacks, like fruit with smooth nut butter or yogurt tubes for energy.
  • Stay hydrated. Because exercise can dry up your mouth, it is easier for bacteria to build up on and between your teeth. Staying hydrated is not only good for your body, but for your smile, too.

For the musicians:

For those who play brass and wind instruments, transitioning back to regular playing may be slightly uncomfortable after getting braces. However, it will simply take some practice to adjust to the feeling of playing with braces, and you should be back to your normal rehearsal and performance schedule in no time. To make the transition as comfortable as possible, consider:

  • Practicing in intervals. If possible, instead of practicing for an extended period of time, start off by practicing in 10- or 15-minute intervals, and take breaks to sip some ice water in between. This can help you adjust to the sensation of playing with braces while preventing irritation.
  • Adjust your embouchure. Because there is an entirely new element to the way your teeth sit, you may have to make some adjustments—and that’s totally okay.
  • Have ice water at the ready. In case you experience any discomfort while you play, have cold water nearby to help soothe your mouth!

For the musical theater kid:

If you’re a singer who recently started orthodontic treatment, you (like brass and woodwind musicians) may have a small adjustment period to navigate! The good news is, having aligned teeth may actually improve your singing voice post-treatment by making airflow more efficient. Here are some ways to help the braces adjustment period for singers and musical theater kids:

  • Try your best to sing normally. While this tip may not seem very helpful, it’s actually best for your mouth and voice to try and sing as normally as possible, and let your body catch up. Braces could make whistling sounds while you sing, but this is likely temporary.
  • Drink water (yes, again). We probably sound like a broken record at this point, but this is the best way to ward off dry mouth and irritation!

If you have any questions about adjusting to braces during the back-to-school season or would like to schedule an appointment, call Petty & Bielik Orthodontics at 708-636-2900.

Back-To-School Braces Basics

August 29th, 2023

As summer comes to a close, students across the country are preparing for the upcoming school year. For those who wear braces, this transition can bring some unique challenges. Caring for braces requires a little extra effort, but by following a few of our school-specific tips, you can maintain a healthy smile and have a happier school year.

  1. Brush after meals 

One of the best ways to maintain good oral hygiene with braces is to brush your teeth after every meal—including school lunch! Food particles can get trapped in the brackets and wires, which leads to plaque buildup (and potentially tooth decay). Keep a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste in your backpack or locker and make it a habit to brush your teeth after eating.

  1. Avoid sticky or chewy foods

While it may be tempting to indulge in sticky or chewy snacks at school, it’s best to avoid them when you have braces. These types of foods can easily get stuck in your braces, making them harder to clean and increasing the risk of damage to the wires or brackets. Opt for braces-friendly options like soft fruits, yogurt, or cheese instead. If you can’t resist the occasional sticky treat, be sure to brush your teeth thoroughly afterward.

  1. Keep a braces care kit 

A braces care kit can be your best friend, especially when you’re at school! If you experience any poking or pain, it’s helpful to have the tools you need on hand, whether you’re in class, at recess, or enjoying lunch. The kit should include essentials such as orthodontic wax, floss, and a small mirror. Wax is helpful when wires or brackets cause discomfort or irritate your gums, and floss is crucial for removing plaque and food particles from hard-to-reach places. Keep your care kit with your travel toothbrush and toothpaste so that you have easy access when you need it. 

  1. Protect your braces

For students involved in sports or other physical activities, protecting your braces is essential. Wearing a mouthguard can help safeguard your braces and reduce the risk of oral injuries. Talk to your orthodontist about getting a custom-fitted mouthguard that accommodates your braces. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so be sure to wear your mouthguard when engaging in any high-contact or potentially dangerous activities. 

  1. Attend regular orthodontist appointments

School schedules can be busy, but it’s still important to prioritize your orthodontic appointments! Regular checkups with your orthodontist allow them to monitor your progress, make necessary adjustments, and ensure that your braces are working effectively. Missing appointments can prolong your treatment duration or lead to unforeseen complications, so do your best to stay on top of them. Try to schedule appointments during non-class hours or on days when you have fewer commitments to minimize disruptions to your school routine. 

Going back to school with braces doesn’t have to be daunting. By following these tips, you can ensure that your braces stay in great condition and maintain a healthy smile throughout the year. With a little extra care and attention, you’ll have a happier school year that’s free from unnecessary oral health complications! 

Summer with Braces: Your Teeth + Treatment

August 8th, 2023

When you spend time outside in the summer, there are many factors that impact your health! While most people know that heat and sunlight can have a detrimental impact on your wellness—especially your skin and vision—don’t let summertime negatively impact your orthodontic treatment. Pay attention, protect your teeth, and ensure your treatment goes smoothly through the end of the summer.

Seasonal Food and Beverage

Every season comes with its own array of special beverages and treats, some of which should be avoided when you have braces. Classic summer treats such as carnival caramel apples, giant lollipops, and gummy-based candies can easily get stuck to the teeth and are especially difficult to clean off of braces. With globs of sugar stuck in your brackets, you’re at a much higher risk for cavities and even gum disease! While you have braces, we highly recommend opting for a meltable popsicle, ice cream, or Dippin’ Dots.

Many traditional summer beverages—such as lemonade, slushes, and root beer floats—are very high in sugar. While these treats are totally fine to consume in moderation, just be sure to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly after enjoying them.

Braces make it much harder to clean sugar and debris off your teeth, which can lead to plaque buildup and cavities. Take extra care to select the best treats for your teeth this summer and establish a rock-solid oral hygiene regimen for when you do indulge!

Summertime Activity and Orthodontics

Be mindful about the types of activities you choose to partake in. This may include playing sports, swimming at the pool or beach, or spending extra time at the jungle gym. For those who choose to be extra active over the summer, we highly encourage that you take extra precautions to protect your mouth and braces. Doing so can prevent unnecessary pain, expensive orthodontic bills, and prolonged treatment.

If you’re playing a sport this summer with a risk of getting hit in the mouth, use a mouthguard to protect your braces. While we would hope you put this safety measure into practice all of the time, it is especially important for those undergoing orthodontics, as an oral injury could excessively complicate treatment.

If you’re planning to hit the pool or beach, be sure not to leave your retainers or aligners out in the sun for too long. In direct sunlight, they may reach temperatures high enough to warp and lose their shape! Keep them in a case and out of direct sunlight or hot cars. While you can absolutely continue to enjoy your normal summer activities, just be extra vigilant to protect your mouth and appliances. You’ll thank yourself later!

Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

For those with braces, consistent hydration is one of the best ways to keep your brackets and teeth clean. The summertime heat can significantly dehydrate your body, leading to less salivary production, dry mouth, and higher rates of plaque buildup. To maintain your normal level of oral hygiene this summer, take extra care to hydrate throughout the day, especially when you’re spending extended time out in the sun and heat. Trust us—the rest of your body will thank you, too.

Overall, orthodontic treatment should not diminish your summertime fun! It’s just important to take consistent precautions to protect your smile transformation from interruptions. For more information or to book an appointment, call Petty & Bielik Orthodontics at 708-636-2900.

Pop Quiz! Are You Taking Proper Care of Your Smile?

July 27th, 2023

The benefits of a beautiful smile go well beyond surface-level appearances: the health of your teeth and mouth is central to your overall well-being. Taking care of your smile can be simple, but it does take commitment, and when you factor braces or aligners into the equation, the importance of proper care becomes even greater. Keeping your teeth clean can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your orthodontic treatment, in addition to your overall health.

If you’re currently receiving orthodontic treatment or if you’re interested in investing in the health of your teeth, take this pop quiz to test your smile knowledge. Don’t worry—you won’t lose points for wrong answers, but your teeth and mouth will thank you for each one you can answer correctly!

How many times a day should you brush and floss your teeth?

If you don’t have braces or aligners, brushing twice a day is ideal. However, if you have braces or aligners, you’ll want to up your brushing game to at least three times a day. And while it can be a challenge to floss with braces, it’s still important to do so daily. You can use an orthodontic flosser or floss threader to make flossing with braces easier.

When is it best to brush your teeth?

At a minimum, you should brush your teeth in the morning and before bed. When you brush after meals, it’s best to wait at least 30 minutes—the acidity of certain foods and drinks can weaken tooth enamel, so brushing right away can damage teeth. 

However, when you have braces or aligners, you should brush after every meal. Braces are excellent food traps, and if they aren’t thoroughly cleaned after eating, you can develop white spots, tooth decay, and gum disease. If you have aligners, like Invisalign®, keeping your teeth and aligners clean ensures that they keep working as efficiently and effectively as possible.

What kind of toothbrush should you use?

A brush that’s too firm can hurt your gums, especially when combined with overly exuberant and forceful brushing. It’s best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush held at a 45-degree angle and moved in gentle circular patterns.

With braces, you might also add in a special toothbrush—a small, interdental toothbrush that can fit between brackets and wires and loosen any lingering food before brushing. Rinsing with water before brushing can help with this, too! 

Electric toothbrushes are always a good option—whether you’re in the process of straightening your teeth or not—but they are especially effective for those with braces.

How often should you replace your toothbrush?

The American Dental Association recommends getting a new toothbrush as soon as the ends start to look frayed—on average, every three to four months. With the additional wear and tear of cleaning bracketed teeth or a set of aligners, those receiving orthodontic treatment should be vigilant and expect to change toothbrushes even more frequently.

What else should be brushed besides teeth?

Your tongue! Plaque can accumulate on your tongue in addition to your teeth, and a clean tongue is essential to your overall oral health. Your toothbrush can function as a tongue-brush, or you can find a specially designed tongue scraper, which should be moved from back to front and rinsed between each scrape.

How often should you visit the dentist and orthodontist?

Biannual visits with your general dentist are sufficient for most people—unless you have pressing concerns or conditions that require more frequent care. 

As for the orthodontist, you don’t need a doctor’s referral to make your first appointment. Once you’re receiving treatment, you can expect to visit your orthodontist every 4-10 weeks depending on your treatment plan and orthodontic appliances.

What else can my orthodontist help me with?

Your orthodontist is here to help with more than simply straightening your teeth or aligning your bite. Petty & Bielik Orthodontics is no different—we are your partner in your oral health journey. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, come and see us. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call us at (708) 636-2900.

Beat Summertime Bad Breath

July 22nd, 2023

Did you know that warm weather can actually make bad breath worse? This is why summer might require you to take extra care to keep your mouth clean and your breath fresh—especially if you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces. To make sure you and your smile make the best impression, here are our top tips for beating bad breath this summer:

  1. Stay hydrated

When the temperature is warmer, your mouth dehydrates faster, and bacteria thrive in a dry mouth. That’s why it’s so important to drink plenty of water. Water will prevent dehydration while also flushing away any food particles or debris that may be stuck to your teeth or appliances. Drinking tap water? You’ll also get a fluoridated boost with every sip!

  1. Pack a kit

When in doubt, always pack a travel kit to help keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh. This is especially helpful if you’re out of the house, at a job, or at camp this summer. For a small kit, we recommend packing a toothbrush, mini toothpaste, a travel-size bottle of mouthwash, toothpicks or plastic flossers, and—if you’re not wearing braces—sugar-free gum/mints. Having the right tools can mean the difference between fresh breath and halitosis!

  1. Avoid certain foods

Summer brings with it delicious seasonal treats, but if you have braces, it’s important to be careful with your snack selections. If you choose to enjoy non-braces-friendly foods, they’re more likely to get stuck in your appliances and lead to bad breath. Always avoid sticky, chewy foods. The last thing you’d want is bad breath and a bent wire or broken bracket.

  1. Clean your aligners/retainers

If you’re wearing removable appliances such as aligners or retainers this summer, you should take extra care to keep them fresh and clean. A dry, hot mouth is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow on your appliances, which may make your breath smell worse. Be sure to clean your appliances—not just your teeth!

  1. Watch your sugar intake

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a popsicle or a summer treat (as long as it’s safe for your appliances)! However, the bacteria that cause bad breath feeds on sugar, which means proper oral hygiene is a must. Brush, floss, and consider rinsing your mouth with a fluoride-based mouthwash after you’re done eating.

At the end of the day, bad breath is preventable, but if it occurs, it’s easy to fix! So go out there, take care of your teeth, and enjoy the summer. For more information, or to schedule your next appointment, call Petty & Bielik Orthodontics at 708-636-2900 today! 

The Internet is Not Your Orthodontist: Smile ‘Hacks’ to Avoid

June 9th, 2023

With the rise in popularity of social media and DIY projects, there are a lot of health trends and fads to beware of and avoid. Social media users have encouraged their fans to dye their hair at home, use fruit as a form of natural makeup, and even perform minor dental and orthodontic procedures on themselves. While you can certainly do some things from home, dentistry and orthodontic treatment are not on the list. Here are some popular trends for teeth and how they can cause irreversible damage to oral health.

1. Rubber band braces

While rubber bands are often used in orthodontic treatment to close the gaps in your teeth, they cannot replace braces. Trying to fix gaps in your teeth by using small elastic bands is dangerous because your teeth are very sensitive, and these bands are likely putting too much pressure on them. Experts warn against this “treatment,” which could move your teeth through bone too quickly and have detrimental impacts on your oral health. Ultimately, DIY-ing rubber bands is a recipe for pain and tooth loss.

While they might seem like a quick fix, applying your own rubber bands can cause long-term damage and bite issues that will require professional intervention down the line. Avoid this disaster DIY and seek help from real experts instead if you want to straighten your smile.

2. Hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice as teeth whitener

Many people on social media are sharing these easy, at-home ‘teeth whiteners’ because they have powerful bleaching properties. However, these very properties are extremely harmful and damaging to your mouth. Hydrogen peroxide, if applied directly to teeth, can cause chemical burns as well as long-term damage to your gums and teeth. Lemon juice, similarly, is extremely acidic, which means it has the potential to dissolve your enamel and make your teeth susceptible to decay.

We can give you safe teeth whitening recommendations after your treatment is over. You should wait until after treatment to whiten, as whitening during treatment could lead to uneven discoloration.

3. Filing your teeth

One of the more extreme trends among young people on the internet involves filing down teeth to make them more symmetrical. Unfortunately, this directly removes protective enamel, which does not grow back. If your enamel breaks down, you will likely have to undergo restorative dental work to avoid chronic pain and tooth loss, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Filing down your teeth can also lead to the exposure of nerves, which is very painful. Avoid the needless pain and financial burden by seeking the help of professionals if you’re looking to straighten or improve your smile aesthetics. We promise, it’ll be better for your mouth—and your bank account—in the long term.

4. At-home tartar removal

While you might think that you could remove your own tartar using a dentist’s tools, it’s not as easy as it seems. You may find scrapers at grocery or drug stores, but that doesn’t mean you should use them. Tartar-removing tools are very sharp, and using them incorrectly can cause chronic gum damage, gum recession, or damage to any orthodontic appliances you might be wearing. It’s also possible to shove tartar beneath the gum line or into your brackets—making it difficult to clean your smile.

It takes specialized training and years of experience to be able to safely scrape plaque and tartar from teeth and around orthodontic appliances. This is why experts go through years of education to treat you safely. The best way to remove plaque and prevent tartar is to follow our instructions for excellent dental hygiene.

5. Pulling teeth

If you have a tooth that needs to be removed, never—ever—try to remove it yourself. If you do, you will risk exposure to infection or snapping the root of the tooth, which is immensely painful. Without proper training and experience, removing teeth is dangerous and may necessitate surgical procedures or extensive orthodontic intervention in the future.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, never assume the role of an orthodontist or dentist. Although these DIY or at-home options seem easy and convenient, they will be more trouble than they’re worth. Skip out on internet experiments and seek the help of professionals instead. Call Petty & Bielik Orthodontics today for all your orthodontic needs!

Smile Makeovers We Love

June 9th, 2023

The most exciting and fulfilling part of providing orthodontic care is seeing our patients’ smiles and confidence grow. We love documenting these amazing transformations. In this blog, we’re throwing it back to a few of the countless smile makeovers we’ve had at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics!

The power of a smile makeover

One of the best parts of our job is that every smile we transform is completely unique. Patients all have anatomical differences and unique goals to consider—from cosmetic boosts and improving TMJ to reducing crowding or malocclusion. Even if you have an idea of what your smile may look like after treatment, seeing the final result is always more exciting!

We can help patients young and old correct bad bites, misaligned teeth, crooked teeth, and midline issues. No matter your age, our treatment options—like clear aligners or braces—can deliver dramatic improvements to your health, confidence, and smile.

The impact of a beautiful smile

There’s nothing like a beautiful smile to boost your confidence! In addition to improving function, oral hygiene, and comfort, our patients also enjoy the aesthetic side of our care. Here are just a few statistics reported by the Dental Tribune about how smiles can impact your life and confidence:

  • 60% of people said in an interview that they felt happier and more attractive with straight teeth.
  • Of the subject pool, those with straighter teeth were 45% more likely to get hired for a job.
  • Those with straighter teeth were more likely to be perceived as happy and healthy.

Smile transformations won’t solve all of your problems, but they can improve your dental health, confidence, and even the way the world perceives you! We are always thrilled when our patients see themselves in a new, brighter light after treatment.

Ready to transform your smile?

To book your consultation or schedule your next appointment, call Petty & Bielik Orthodontics at 708-636-2900. Or use our virtual consultation tool on our website to begin your treatment from the comfort of your home.

Keeping Your Braces & Smile Fresh

May 10th, 2023

Have you ever been plagued with bad breath? Besides being embarrassing, bad breath can indicate excessive plaque and bacteria. Unfortunately, those with braces may have a harder time cleaning away food particles after a meal or snack. That’s because your wires and brackets create nooks and crannies where food can hide (and smell!). Fortunately, there are more options than ever to help you enjoy fresh breath and a beautiful, clean smile.

Flossing options with braces

To prevent buildup and remove plaque, brushing and flossing are essential. However, there are many different types of floss that you can use to keep that smile healthy. Here are some of our favorites!

  • Plastic threader needles: Suitable for those with braces, this tool helps you floss around your braces, brackets, and wires. Though it may be more time-consuming at first, practice makes perfect. You’ll enjoy a deeper clean and healthy smile once you get the hang of it!
  • Floss picks: These picks are easy to wield and popular with patients of all ages. Simply find one that fits with your braces to remove plaque from between your teeth.
  • Interdental brushes: These tiny brushes come in several sizes. They can fit between teeth, brackets, and wires for a deeper, targeted clean. However, depending on how crowded your smile is, they may not fit everywhere in your mouth—making them a great touch-up tool for in between regular brushing and flossing.
  • Water flossers: These are a game changer for many patients! By blasting a jet of water, these flossers can clean hard-to-reach areas with the push of a button. The only downside is that you can’t bring a water flosser with you everywhere!

Snacks for clean teeth

Besides oral hygiene, what you eat can impact your breath. Foods that stimulate saliva production and combat dry mouth can help you get cleaner breath. Eating soft veggies, cut-up fruit, and fibrous foods and drinking plenty of water all help promote saliva, which can neutralize acids and bacteria in the mouth.

Be mindful of foods that may get stuck in braces or teeth, like bread or crackers—especially if you won’t be able to brush or floss after eating them. These may be more difficult to clean away fully and could lead to extra plaque.

Need a quick boost of fresh breath?

Rather than opting for gum or hard and chewy mints, pack mini mouthwashes or LISTERINE® POCKETPAKS® breath strips for a quick boost to your breath. Both are sugar-free options that enhance your confidence and freshen your breath. Just don’t let them replace excellent oral hygiene habits!

Contact us today to learn more about oral hygiene with braces or to schedule your appointment!

Spring Guide for Braces, Aligners, or Retainers!

May 4th, 2023

Are you headed to the pool, beach, or on a hiking trip this spring? If so, you may want to consider a few things if you’re also undergoing orthodontic treatment. After all, you wouldn’t want your trip to disrupt or prolong your treatment in any way. Here are our top tips for going on vacation or enjoying the spring with braces, Invisalign®, or retainers.

Always have your case

If you’re wearing removable or part-time appliances, such as aligners or retainers, you probably know the annoyance of misplacing or forgetting your case. If you’re going to a pool, heading out on a day trip, or gearing up for a vacation, you’ll want a safe, clean place to store your appliances. We recommend bringing at least one—if not two—cases. This way, you’ll always have somewhere to store your appliances, and you can avoid the awkwardness of finding a napkin or plastic bag. (This also minimizes the risk of accidentally throwing out aligners wrapped in a napkin!)

Foolproof vacation kit

Speaking of bringing your case, why stop there? We recommend packing a foolproof kit for day trips or longer—especially if you’re going somewhere without immediate access to dental care. Bring a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss or floss threaders, a mini bottle of mouthwash, TYLENOL®, and orthodontic wax in your kit. This way, you’ll be prepared for almost any obstacle your appliances may throw your way! Bring an orthodontic mouthguard if you’re leaving for an athletic trip, like a spring tournament or game.

Maintain regular appointments

We know the spring season is often hectic, but we ask that you continue to schedule your regular orthodontic appointments. If you were meant to come in the week of a vacation or trip, please don’t skip the appointment. Instead, try to reschedule it for right before or after you return. This way, you can keep making progress toward your smile goals!

Keep appliances safe and clean

As the weather warms up, beware of the heat! Do not leave your appliances out in the hot sun or in the car, as this could damage the plastic of your aligners or retainers. Gearing up for a spring or summer beach vacation? Don’t get sand or sunscreen on your retainers or aligners. When you’re not wearing your appliances, stow them safely in their case, inside your bag.

During a hot day, reaching for a cold drink is refreshing. But remember to remove aligners before drinking anything other than water. And always brush and floss after sugary or acidic drinks! Keeping your appliances clean will ensure you stay cavity-free—no matter where your season takes you.

We hope you have a wonderful spring and summer season! For more tips, or if you want to schedule your next appointment, call Petty & Bielik Orthodontics at 708-636-2900 today.

How You Can Promote Healthy Smiles at Home

April 7th, 2023

At our practice, we love helping patients of all ages achieve their best smiles. But orthodontic care is only one component of a smile you love. At home, parents can help children set up healthy habits for life. Here are our top tips to support your child before and during treatment!

Begin healthy habits early

When it comes to oral health, there’s no such thing as starting too early. Experts recommend that children visit the dentist for the first time once their first tooth comes in or when they turn 1 year old. For children, biannual visits and excellent at-home care can help ensure cavity-free teeth and a positive attitude about oral hygiene. Your pediatric dentist may also be able to spot potential orthodontic problems early, like losing baby teeth prematurely.

Though braces are often associated with teenagers, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends bringing in your child to an orthodontist by the time they turn 7 years old—or earlier if recommended. At that age, our team can identify potential problems before they worsen or develop. Unlike with adults, children are still growing. We can work with a child’s natural growth to influence the jaw, palate, and facial development. Early intervention can help make treatment more efficient and less invasive than if parents waited until all adult teeth have erupted.

Instill healthy habits at home

As soon as children develop teeth, brushing and flossing come into play. Though baby teeth do fall out, they’re not disposable or unimportant. Poor oral hygiene with baby teeth can lead to premature tooth loss. Baby teeth are crucial for speaking, chewing, and eating, and they also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth as they erupt.

When children get braces or aligners, good oral hygiene habits become even more crucial. Appliances can lead to bacteria getting stuck in nooks and crannies of the mouth. Properly brushing and flossing help decrease the chances of plaque buildup and decay. Encourage your child to practice their oral hygiene habits at home and while they’re out and about. Pack them oral hygiene kits to bring to school or a sleepover. Send text reminders or leave sticky notes on the bathroom mirror if it’s time to brush after a snack or meal.

Choose the right foods

Supporting your child with healthy, braces-friendly foods can make treatment much easier and safer. While your child wears appliances, steer them clear of sticky, hard, and chewy foods. These can damage teeth, pop off brackets, and bend wires. In addition to braces-friendly foods, tooth-friendly foods are also excellent choices! Opt for tooth-strengthening, calcium-rich dairy products or vitamin-rich vegetables that nourish their body, and help them limit sugary or acidic snacks and drinks to avoid cavities.

Book an appointment

Ready to help your child get their best smile yet? Contact our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team. We can’t wait to deliver our expert care!

How Retainers Help You Love Your Smile

March 14th, 2023

If you just had your braces removed, chances are retainers will be your next step. These custom appliances are used to hold teeth in alignment after treatment with braces or aligners. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about retainers:

Why do I need to wear my retainers?

Retainers keep your smile, teeth, and bite healthily aligned. Without something to hold them in place, teeth will naturally shift over time. This could lead to more problems or a need for a second round of orthodontic treatment. Wearing your retainer prevents your teeth from moving and helps you keep the smile you spent all that time working for!

How long do I wear my retainers?

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we believe in long-term retention for a lifetime of beautiful smiles.  Every retention plan is unique, and our team will let you know what is best for your smile! While some may opt for removable retainers that you wear nightly, others may choose a permanent retainer for easier patient compliance. Because every smile is different, no two treatment or retention plans are alike!  

Do I need to clean my retainers?

You should be cleaning your retainers! When you wear retainers, they can accumulate plaque and bacteria just like your teeth and braces. To combat buildup, clean removable retainers each time you take them out. For permanent retainers, practice extra diligent oral hygiene when you brush and floss like when you wore braces.

Can I eat with my retainers?

To avoid damaging your retainers, be sure to remove them before you eat or drink anything other than water. Not only can food get trapped in your retainers, but you may accidentally damage the appliance, too.

Will I talk with a lisp forever?

You may go through a brief adjustment period where talking with your retainers is a bit challenging. However, you likely went through something similar when you first got braces or aligners. If you experience a temporary lisp from the retainers, don’t worry! You will grow accustomed to wearing them and any speaking challenges should resolve within a few days.

Can retainers cause gum problems or cavities?

As long as you commit to excellent oral hygiene and follow our instructions, you shouldn’t worry about retainers causing any problems. However, wearing dirty retainers frequently could contribute to issues like cavities or decay. 

If you have any more questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call Petty & Bielik Orthodontics at 708-636-2900 today!

Braces-Friendly Foods for 2023

February 3rd, 2023

This season, you may be looking for resolution recommendations to boost your health. Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered! When it comes to foods, not all are ideal for braces or teeth. Here are our top suggestions for foods that promote healthy smiles.

Try dairy options

If you eat dairy, we’ve got great news for you! Dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk are both braces friendly and excellent for your teeth. Rich in calcium, casein, and phosphorus—which all strengthen teeth—some of these options also contain probiotics that can neutralize cavity-causing bacteria. For a healthy smile, we recommend sticking to low- or no-sugar yogurt and skipping out on heavily sweetened drinks, like chocolate milk or strawberry milk.

Leafy greens and soft vegetables

Vegetables are king when it comes to vitamins and minerals! While you may have to skip out on raw, crunchy options like carrots during orthodontic treatment, there are plenty of braces-friendly choices. Greens are loaded with folic acid, vitamins, and minerals that can strengthen your smile. Plus, veggies have a high fiber content, something that is linked with a boost to gum health.

Soft fruits

It’s true that many fruits are sugary or acidic, but they can still be mouth-healthy! Options like seedless melons are full of water while others, including pears or grapes, promote saliva production and are packed with vitamins and minerals. If you do choose to enjoy some fruit, remember to rinse your mouth with water and wait 15-30 minutes before brushing to avoid damaging your enamel.

Cooked fruits and veggies

Miss your favorite crunchy or hard fruits and veggies? You don’t have to skip them entirely. Instead of completely omitting carrots or foregoing hard apples, try steamed veggies or puréed fruit, like applesauce. You’ll still get all of the vitamin and mineral-based benefits—without risking damage to your appliances.

Enjoy a delicious and healthy 2023

Did any of our picks surprise you? This year, focus on a healthy smile and orthodontic transformation. If you have any questions or if you’re ready to book your next appointment, call our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team today.

New Year’s Resolution: Smile Makeover

January 20th, 2023

Happy New Year from all of us here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics! With the new year comes a lot of hope, joy, and the opportunity for a reset. While you’re thinking about your New Year’s resolutions, consider the benefits of orthodontic treatment. If you’ve been meaning to make it to the orthodontist’s office but put it off all last year, now is the time to finally commit to your new smile—here’s why:

New year, new you

The season of the new year is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and prioritizing yourself. If you’ve been hesitant—or just too busy—to venture into the world of orthodontics, this is the perfect time. Since you’re still excited to get organized, healthier, or create a new routine in 2023, you’ll be able to kickstart your treatment and see how much progress you make in just the year.

Modern braces and aligners are less invasive and more discreet and comfortable than ever. However, like any medical treatment, there is still an adjustment period. Having the right attitude about committing to a change in your life can make all the difference as you get used to life with your new appliances.

Advanced options for healthy smiles

Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we create a truly custom treatment plan—there are no cookie-cutter smiles here! From self-ligating (Damon) braces to clear aligners and temporary anchorage devices (TADs), we use the best technology to address your unique anatomy and achieve your goals.

Make health your 2023 resolution

Your oral health impacts your entire body. In fact, gum disease has been linked with everything from heart disease and poor brain function to inflammation and whole-body illnesses. When you choose an orthodontic treatment, you aren’t just giving yourself a prettier smile. Orthodontic treatment can work to prevent serious issues related to oral hygiene, airway concerns, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

Make a healthier smile part of your New Year’s resolutions, and set yourself up for a generally healthier, happier mouth!

If you have any questions or are ready to book an appointment, call Petty & Bielik Orthodontics at 708-636-2900 today! We can’t wait to help you make your dream smile a reality.

Brace Yourself: The Holidays Are Here!

December 20th, 2022

Although winter holidays are just around the corner, your orthodontic treatment won’t be taking a vacation. You may feel like you’re missing out on the fun if you have braces, but you don’t have to! There are plenty of ways to enjoy the festivities while keeping your teeth and braces safe and treatment on track. Here are our top tips for a healthy holiday.

Enjoy braces-friendly holiday foods

It can be hard to avoid sweet treats such as candy canes, peanut brittle, chewy candies, and fudge during the holiday season, but your braces will thank you! Don’t risk breaking your brackets or wires with sticky or hard food, especially when there are plenty of delicious alternatives.

Try snacking on fresh seasonal fruits, such as oranges, tangerines, kiwis, and clementines, which are all rich in vitamin C. These fruits can help fight gum disease and seasonal colds, and they’re easy on your braces! Other braces-friendly foods include soft cheeses, soft cookies, cakes, bread puddings, and muffins.

Keep up with daily oral hygiene

No matter the time of year, it’s always important to care for your oral health by brushing your teeth and flossing. If you’ve got braces, flossing after meals and brushing with fluoride toothpaste can prevent food from settling in your brackets. Being mindful of your teeth during this busy time will help you to avoid dental problems or emergencies, so be proactive and take care of your teeth!

Drink lots of water

Not only is drinking water great for your overall health, but it also helps keep your mouth clean! You may be snacking more over the holidays, so it’s even more essential to drink plenty of water to rinse your teeth between meals. If possible, choose water over sugary drinks, like hot chocolate, eggnog, or punch.

Make a travel kit

If you are traveling during the holidays, create a braces travel kit to bring with you. In case you lose your regular tools, keep a small toothbrush, floss, elastics, wax, and mouthwash in your kit. These portable kits can also be helpful to keep in cars, backpacks, and bags for when you’re on the go.

Don’t skip appointments

The holidays can be hectic for families, and you may find it hard to fit your orthodontist appointments into a busy schedule! However, it’s essential to keep up with your visits and let us know if you’ll have to miss one. Try to reschedule your appointments as soon as possible to ensure you feel confident showing off your best smile this holiday season. Contact us today to schedule your next visit with our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team.

Transforming Smiles 101

November 20th, 2022

We are always grateful to transform your smiles! In this blog, we're breaking down everything you need to know about orthodontics. Whether you're starting treatment soon or in a retention phase, we want to spread the word about how orthodontic treatment works.

New to orthodontics?

Orthodontic treatment may seem like a big responsibility—especially for adults who aren't interested in metal mouths of the past. While it can seem like an intense commitment, orthodontic treatment is less invasive and more discreet and streamlined than ever before. With advances in clear aligners and braces technology, we offer options that fit every patient's busy lifestyle and goals. You'll need to make some minor life changes with any appliance (think: brushing up on oral hygiene habits). But after just a little while, these adjustments become second nature. By following our experts' instructions, you can do your part to speed up treatment and ensure a healthy, beautiful result.

Benefits that go beyond aesthetics

When you think of braces, do you think of straight teeth or beautiful smiles? Aesthetics are one component of orthodontic treatment, but one of many reasons we transform smiles.

We can treat issues like bad bites and crowding through care while improving daily function with breathing, sleeping, chewing, or speaking. Everything from your bite to your mouth posture can impact your quality of life. Correcting these orthodontic concerns can prevent or even treat airway problems, TMJ dysfunction, and crowding that often leads to poor oral hygiene. It's always exciting to help boost so many facets of our patients' lives!

Ready for more treatment?

You can enjoy a lifelong smile when you follow our orthodontists' instructions. Unfortunately, many might slip up with their retention plan. After all, most of us know people who had braces as a child but have since long lost their retainers.

However, skipping out on your retention plan can lead to regression. In this case, you may need further treatment to restore your best smile. If your smile has shifted or you're noticing new issues, like a problematic bite or trouble chewing, we can help. At our practice, we have several ways to help you get that smile back on track. Whether it's refitting you for a retainer or helping you undergo treatment through aligners or braces, we'll make sure you love your grin.

To book your next appointment or to learn more, contact our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team at (708) 636-2900.

We're Thankful to Be Orthodontists

November 1st, 2022

During this time of year, we’re all spending more time with our loved ones and reflecting on what we’re thankful for. This Thanksgiving, all of us here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics are thankful for our smile family, work, and, most of all, our patients. Here are just a few of the many reasons that we’re so grateful to be orthodontists each day.

Solving tricky jaw and mouth problems

Orthodontics isn’t just about building an aesthetically beautiful smile. Many people suffer from malocclusions (a bad bite), like an underbite or overbite. These problems are common, and fixing them can provide life-changing results. A bad bite and jaw problems can contribute to airway (breathing) and sleeping hindrances and TMJ dysfunction symptoms. Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we’ve seen all kinds of tricky problems and are thankful every time a patient trusts us to correct those issues.

Making lives easier

Orthodontic care can make your everyday life—which requires significant mouth functions—easier. Misaligned teeth can negatively affect your ability to chew. And, if misalignment is impacting the way your tongue sits against your teeth, it may make speaking and breathing harder. In addition, misaligned teeth can lead to poor oral hygiene and trouble keeping your dental health in check. Treating patients with braces or aligners can prevent future dental problems like cavities or gum disease. During your orthodontic journey, we love seeing the impact a healthy smile has on your life!

Watching confidence transform

While improving health through orthodontic care is exceptionally gratifying, one of our favorite parts of this job is helping people find a newfound sense of self-confidence in their smiles. Many people feel overwhelmed by the prospect of orthodontics. They may even feel uncomfortable with someone getting up close and personal with their teeth. However, by the end of treatment, our patients love their smiles!

Thank you for being our patients

As we dedicate time to our friends and family this Thanksgiving, we are thankful for our wonderful patients and the fulfilling work we do. Thank you for trusting our care and for choosing Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. If you have any questions or want to set up your next appointment, please call us at 708-636-2900 today!

Don't Be Haunted by Cavities! 10 Tips for a Healthy Halloween

October 20th, 2022

Halloween is finally here! Every year, families gear up for costume creation, trick-or-treating, and candy. While there are plenty of reasons to get excited about October 31, look out for the spooky consequences of consuming sugary Halloween sweets when you have braces.

When sugar meets the bacteria in our mouths, it produces acid that can break down the protective enamel on your teeth, causing cavities. Halloween is a great opportunity to teach children how to enjoy holiday treats while minimizing the damage they do to their teeth. Here are our tips to have a happy, healthy Halloween this October.

  1. Choose the best candy for your smile. As far as your options go, chocolate is a great one! Chocolate is soft, braces friendly, and it washes off teeth more easily than other candies—making it ideal for oral hygiene. Dark chocolate is the best for dental health because of its low sugar. Some studies suggest that it contains compounds that may harden tooth enamel and have plaque-fighting benefits.
  1. Look out for sticky snacks. Cavities are more likely to develop when candy sticks to your teeth and gets in the nooks and crannies of your braces. Choosing candy that won't stick to your teeth or appliances can help you avoid damage on Halloween.
  1. Steer clear of hard candies. Hard candies, such as lollipops, take longer to eat, which means they stay in your mouth and expose your teeth to sugar for longer periods. Plus, if you bite down on hard candies to finish them faster, you'll also risk popping off a bracket or chipping a tooth.
  1. Enjoy your candy at mealtime. Believe it or not, eating your candy with lunch or dinner can help protect your teeth! When you eat, you produce more saliva, which neutralizes acids and helps rinse away food particles, damaging sugars, and bacteria.
  1. Eat dinner before trick-or-treating. They say to never go to the grocery store hungry, and the same goes for trick-or-treating! Fueling kids with a healthy meal before heading out will keep them from snacking nonstop on candy until they make it home. This ensures you and your child have time to sort out non-braces-friendly sweets before they start munching.
  1. Make your candy last. After a successful Halloween, many children have enough candy to last a month! Try creating a candy budget for kids to encourage them to space out their candy consumption and make it last longer. By spreading out candy and monitoring which ones your child is enjoying, you can prevent cavities, tummy aches, and of course, orthodontic problems.
  1. Drink lots of water—and skip sugary drinks. Staying hydrated is a great way to avoid cavities! Drinking fluoridated water helps minimize the buildup of bacteria and rinses your teeth and gums. However, sugary drinks, such as soda and sports drinks, can increase your risk of tooth decay. It's best to minimize your consumption, especially around Halloween.
  1. Practice great oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth are always important for anyone undergoing orthodontic treatment. However, oral hygiene after eating candy is especially critical as sugar and bacteria can get trapped in braces more easily.
  1. Encourage your children to donate extra Halloween candy. Have too much candy? Have the wrong kinds of candy? Halloween candy donations or buyback programs help children do good for others or earn a monetary reward for their candy haul! Find a candy buyback event near you—it's a positive way to help kids dispose of non-braces-friendly sweets.
  1. Keep up with regular appointments. Regular dentist and orthodontic visits are important year-round. If you're concerned about your child's smile after Halloween, a dental exam can ensure teeth are cavity free. A visit with our team will help us determine if appliances are in great shape and if treatment is on track.

Book your next appointment

Stay safe and have a happy Halloween! If you are ready to book your next appointment, call our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team today.

National Orthodontic Month: The History of Orthodontics

October 13th, 2022

October is National Orthodontic Month. All month long, we’re celebrating the joys and benefits of a healthy smile as well as orthodontia’s storied history! Did you know that you can trace orthodontic care back to 300 B.C.E. in ancient Greece and Rome? Humans have used orthodontics for their health, confidence, and well-being for thousands of years. Here are just a few fun facts about the vast history of this practice.

Famous philosophers discussed orthodontics

Aristotle and Hippocrates had ideas for teeth straightening back in 400 and 300 B.C.E., and just a few centuries later, a pile of orthodontic tools and an instruction guide were found in a Roman tomb. Additionally, archeologists have uncovered mummies from around this time with metal wires wrapped through or around their teeth.

They had braces in 18th century France

Well, sort of. Pierre Bauchard, who is considered the father of modern dentistry, invented a device called the bandeau that widened the upper palate and helped straighten teeth. He even wrote a book about methods for straightening teethpublished in 1728.

The term orthodontia was coined in 1841

The term ‘orthodontia’ was coined in 1841 by dentist Joachim Lafoulon. Around the same time, orthodontics became a specialty within dentistry. This was when various rubber bands, metal wires, and elastics began to be adapted into what would soon become modern braces.

Modern orthodontia

The treatments that we would now consider ‘modern’ are very recent developments—especially given the long history of orthodontia. Even within the past few decades, there has been much innovation in dentistry and orthodontics. For instance, self-ligating braces were first introduced in the 1930s. Damon Braces, a kind of self-ligating system, were introduced in the 1990s and have since been updated several times for better results and more comfort. Similarly, Invisalign® was invented by two brilliant students at Stanford University in 1997. Today, clear aligners like Invisalign and Spark are very popular—even though they weren’t an option just 30 years ago.

Visit our friendly team

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we celebrate the history of our specialty and embrace the most advanced technologies and treatments in our field. Orthodontic care has been around for longer than you may have imagined, but what matters is that you get the personalized, advanced care that you deserve. For National Orthodontic Month, consider making an appointment at our practice. Whether it’s your first appointment or just a check-in, we are here to provide you with superior care. Call us at 708-636-2900 today!

I Got My Braces Off…Now What?

September 22nd, 2022

So, you’ve gotten your braces off! Finally, after all this time, you’re celebrating the end of your orthodontic treatment and your brand-new smile. Hopefully, you’re feeling as confident as ever, but this isn’t the end of your orthodontic journey. In fact, to maintain that lovely new smile, there are some things you’ll need to do.

Visit your dentist

If it’s been a while since you last saw your dentist, it might be a good idea to give them a visit! Even if you’re a regular at your dental practice, it can be difficult to keep your teeth in tip-top shape when you have braces. Now that you’re no longer dealing with hidden nooks and crannies from braces, it’s time to let a dentist clean your teeth. This way, they can ward off any plaque or stains that might have built up during your treatment and ensure that you maintain the smile you’ve earned!

Be gentle with your mouth

After removing your braces, your teeth and gums might feel slightly sensitive or tender. It’s important to be patient with your mouth. It takes some time to adjust to life without braces—just like it did when you got braces. It may be helpful to continue eating braces-friendly foods and drinks that will be gentle on your teeth. However, as your sensitivity dissipates, you can incorporate those foods you’ve missed.

Wear your retainer as instructed

Because you’re no longer wearing braces or appliances to keep your teeth in place, the only way to maintain your new smile is by wearing your retainer. Your teeth are most susceptible to shifts in the first few months after you’ve gotten your braces off, so you should wear your retainer exactly as directed by our experts. Although every treatment plan is different, you will probably have both bonded retainers and an upper night retainer. The nighttime retainer is especially important because the bonded retainers are not attached to all the teeth. Be sure to take good care of your retainer as well. Keeping them (and the case!) clean prevents bacteria buildup in your mouth.

New smile, new dental hygiene regimen

Now that your braces are off, brushing, flossing, and generally taking care of your teeth will be much easier. Brush your teeth at least twice daily and replace your toothbrush every few months (or when the bristles appear frayed or you’ve been sick). Daily flossing is also a must!

Keep in touch

Even after you’ve finished treatment, keep in touch! You’re still part of our smile family. Retainers won’t last forever—plus, you may lose, break, or damage your appliance. Come in to see us if you need a replacement or if you stopped wearing your retainer and are noticing your teeth shifting. We always love to see you! For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 708-636-2900.

Caring for Retainers & Aligners: At School or Work

September 14th, 2022

Orthodontic treatment can sometimes present challenges as you head into the classroom or office. However, it doesn’t have to get in the way of events, activities, friendships, or work! Here are some tips for etiquette and best practices while wearing removable aligners or retainers in a public setting.

Always carry a case and hygiene tools

If you need to remove your appliances discreetly before a big corporate banquet or lunch with your friends, ensure you always have a plastic case with you. Try to find a restroom where you can covertly stow your aligners or retainers—rather than removing them in front of others. Bringing a case ensures you don’t have to put your retainers or aligners directly into your bag or pocket—gross! A case also prevents you from wrapping them in a napkin and accidentally tossing them into the garbage.

Plan ahead

After eating or drinking anything other than water, you’ll need to clean your smile before replacing appliances and heading back to work or the classroom. Carry a toothbrush, mini bottle of toothpaste, and floss to clean your teeth and aligners or retainer. While it may be tempting to skip this step, lingering food particles in your mouth can be a recipe for cavities with your appliances.

If you know that you will be in a situation where you will be eating or drinking, plan ahead. Identify a restroom where you can remove your appliances a few minutes before the event starts and a place where you can practice proper oral hygiene afterward. If you know you can’t perform a complete oral hygiene routine for whatever reason (no public restroom, eating on a bus/public transit, packed itinerary, etc.) bring along a travel disposable toothbrush and a water bottle. Swishing and brushing can help remove plaque and food particles in a pinch. Just be sure to thoroughly clean your appliances and smile when you get home!

Use your judgment

Although we’d like to plan for every potential event, sometimes life brings surprises! If you are faced with a situation that you are unprepared for, use your best judgment. Removing appliances in front of friends or coworkers or forgetting your aligner case is not the end of the world. However, we urge you to build up your healthiest habits and plan whenever possible. Doing so will help you get the best possible result from your treatment and hard work!

For more orthodontic advice or to schedule an appointment, call Petty & Bielik Orthodontics at (708) 636-2900 today!

5 Tips to Pick the Right Orthodontist for You

September 8th, 2022

Finding the right orthodontist may be daunting, especially if you are looking for a provider for the very first time. However, the most important thing to remember as you research is to pick an office that makes you feel welcome and comfortable, as you will spend a fair amount of time with them throughout your treatment. Here are five of our top tips for picking the best orthodontist for you:

1. Research their reputation and credentials

If there’s one thing you can rely on, it’s the opinions of other patients! Most orthodontists have testimonials on their website or social media, though you may also find helpful reviews on websites such as Google. It’s also important to find out an orthodontist’s background and credentials. After all, if you’re trusting someone with your smile, you want them to be experts, like our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team! Look for an orthodontist with a wide range of expertise and modern practices in care, technologies, and treatments.

2. Go somewhere family-friendly

If you have children who need treatment, pick a provider who works with all age groups. You will want to ensure your orthodontist has expertise in pediatric orthodontics. Children and adults have different orthodontic needs. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends bringing your child to an orthodontist by age 7, so it’s never too early to start researching!

3. Learn about a practice’s treatments

While there may be some similarities between orthodontic practices, their experience, care, and specific treatments may vary. Though not every patient is a good candidate for certain treatments, so be sure to research treatment options. For instance, if you are interested in discreet adult orthodontics, check if a practice offers clear (ceramic) braces or clear aligners.

4. Look at their payment options

Some people find paying for orthodontic care intimidating, but the best way to crush any fear is to discuss payment options with a potential provider. After all, you deserve to know up front how much you’ll be paying and when. Check if the practice accepts your insurance provider if you have dental coverage. If not, discuss financing plans or potential discounts to make treatment more affordable. Doing this research is a great way to plan for your expenses and feel confident about your care.

5. Find local experts

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘shop locally,’ but there are equal benefits to pursuing healthcare locally, too! Because orthodontic treatment requires regular office visits, choosing a provider who is easily accessible to you is most convenient. In addition to being nearby, you should also ensure that your orthodontist has a range of appointment times so you never miss visits.

The entire team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics is committed to making you feel comfortable, addressing your unique needs, and helping you achieve your unique goals. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at 708-636-2900! 

Is Your Child Ready for Braces?

August 31st, 2022

Orthodontic needs differ from person to person, and this goes for children, too! The American Association of Orthodontists recommends bringing your child in for their first consultation by age 7—or earlier if you or a dentist notice issues. However, here are some additional clues that your child may be ready for braces or, at least, a trip to the orthodontist.

Losing baby teeth early

How many baby teeth has your child lost (if any)? Even if your child is much younger than 7 years old, it may be time to prepare for orthodontics if they lose baby teeth too early. When this happens, it can impact how the permanent teeth erupt and lead to orthodontic issues.

Patients who begin orthodontics at a young age may receive a two-phase treatment. With two-phase care, patients wear appliances before and after losing all of their baby teeth. For some, there are advantages to starting treatment early, including correcting complex bite and jaw problems before they progress and preventing other issues from developing.

Having a bite that impacts daily life

If you notice your child having trouble chewing or speaking, it’s likely time to visit the orthodontist. Issues like underbites or overbites can impede daily life and sometimes worsen if left untreated. Not sure if your child suffers from a bad bite? Our experts can identify existing, developing, or future problems with the jaw, facial growth, and teeth. Correcting these early on can prevent discomfort, inconvenience, and poor function in the future. By working with your child’s natural growth, we can deliver a healthy, happy bite and smile.

Noticing orthodontic issues

Another great way to know if a child is ready for braces is whether they seem to know they’re ready for braces. Hearing your child commenting on their crooked teeth or problematic bite may signify that they are ready to transform their smile aesthetics. Going into orthodontic treatment with an understanding and prepared child is ideal, so always be ready to open the conversation and discuss how braces can improve confidence, health, and function!

Book your child’s appointment today

Think it’s time for your child’s first appointment? We can’t wait to have you in our office! If you are ready to schedule an appointment or have any questions, please call Petty & Bielik Orthodontics at (708)-636-2900!

Seeking Treatment for My Teen: What to Know

August 2nd, 2022

boy with braces

Teen years are full of exciting changes, both physical and emotional. Braces are one of the most common teenage rites of passage. And with many treatments available, your teen can be excited about their smile during and after treatment!

Getting the timing right

By adulthood, the mouth, jaw, and face are fully grown, making orthodontic treatment possible but often more invasive than if it was started at a younger age. Children and teenagers have bones and tissue that are still developing, so we can work with their natural growth to align teeth, correct bites, and expand palates.

Most permanent teeth are in place around age 12 or 13. As adult teeth settle into their natural permanent positions, this age is a great time to correct alignment, spacing, crowding, and bite issues. However, if your child is younger and hasn’t started orthodontic treatment yet, don’t wait! The American Association of Orthodontists recommends seeing an orthodontist at age 7 for an initial exam.

Supporting smile confidence

A straight, healthy smile is the ultimate confidence boost! For many teenagers, the end goal of braces encourages them to take care of their appliances and find joy in the treatment process. Your teen or preteen will likely know several peers going through treatment, too—maybe some of them are even in our Petty & Bielik family!

Teens and preteens often have heightened anxieties about their looks, and it's easy for them to be self-conscious about any new change in appearance, like braces. Be sympathetic to their concerns and support their smile journey. Try keeping banned foods out of the house or only enjoying them when your child isn’t around. It helps them resist temptation and doesn’t make them feel left out. Support could also come as reminders to care for their appliances (but don’t overwhelm them, trust that they’ll do it!).

What options are available for them? 

Before creating a custom plan, our experts will evaluate your child’s teeth, growth, facial development, palate, and bite. At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we offer several advanced treatments, including:

  • Ceramic braces: Ceramic braces work just like traditional metal braces, but they use discreet, stain-resistant brackets for a more subtle look. 
  • Damon Braces: Self-ligating braces may require less treatment time and fewer adjustments than traditional metal braces. They are smaller than traditional braces, do not require elastics, and use memory wire.
  • Invisalign® & Spark Aligners: Clear aligner trays have become a popular alternative to traditional braces because they are so discreet and easy to care for. With clear aligners, patients receive removable trays that gradually shift smiles into place.

After the consultation, your orthodontist will let you know which treatments suit your child’s dental needs and aesthetic preferences. To start your child’s path towards their best smile, call our team today at (708) 636-2900. We can’t wait to meet them!

Summer Orthodontic Guide

July 25th, 2022

Summer is here, which might mean switching some indoor activities for more time in the sun. With the higher UV index and fun hangouts, remaining committed to your orthodontic routine can be challenging. Even so, it's more important than ever to maintain regular dental appointments and oral care to prevent backtracking your smile's progress. Here are some tips for having a fantastic summer with braces, aligners, or retainers.

Getaways and trips

Pack what you need for a healthy smile when you go on a summer getaway, whether on vacation or off to a summer camp. Poor oral hygiene could lead to cavities, discoloration, or more time wearing your braces or aligners. Be extra mindful of packing these tools if you're going off the grid! Not bringing your aligners or retainer with you, for example, could mean starting over from scratch when you return home.

  • Floss and floss threaders
  • Toothbrush
  • Sports mouthguard
  • Orthodontic wax to prevent discomfort
  • Aligners or retainers in their case

What summer treats can you enjoy?

Summer comes with a lot of tasty seasonal foods! If you have braces, there's no need to worry. You can still enjoy plenty of soft treats, like popsicles, ice cream, smoothies, or watermelon (be careful with seeds!). Always avoid sticky, hard foods, such as corn on the cob, caramel corn, or hard pretzels. If you wear Invisalign®, you have a few more food options since you can take out your aligners. However, regardless of your appliances, keep brushing and flossing for a healthy, plaque-free smile!

Orthodontic care for outdoor activities

Protect yourself if you like to spend your days soaking up the sun! Apply sunscreen to your face and wear an SPF lip balm. While playing sports, you should always wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth, lips, cheeks, tongue, and appliances. Though usually preventable with a mouthguard, mouth injuries can seriously cost you—from missing teeth and high medical bills to broken appliances and lots of discomfort.

This summer, take time to relax and enjoy lots of time outside. But, do stay on top of your smile and oral health! By following these tips, you'll enjoy a healthy and happy summer. Ready to start your smile journey? Call our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team at 708.636.2900.

Get Your Healthiest Smile With Damon Braces

July 19th, 2022

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we offer a variety of treatments to meet our patients’ smile needs—from clear aligners and traditional braces to interceptive care and Damon Braces. You have probably heard the phrase “metal mouth” thrown around in movies, commercials, or daily life, but Damon Braces are far from that outdated moniker. With Damon, high-quality orthodontic care is more discreet, streamlined, and comfortable. So, what sets this technology apart from other treatments? Find out more below!

How do Damon Braces work?

While traditional braces attach the archwire to each bracket with elastic bands, Damon connects the archwire to brackets with tiny clips. Using an open-shut door mechanism and self-ligating technology, the archwire moves within the brackets freely as it adjusts to your shifting teeth. Damon’s shape-memory wire makes treatment more comfortable and efficient than ever before.

Comparing traditional braces with Damon

Damon Braces don’t just provide a subtler look than their traditional counterparts. They also make treatment:

  • More comfortable—patients experience less pressure exerted on each tooth. And the smaller brackets cause less irritation on lips and cheeks.
  • Quicker—Damon Braces can shorten treatment and deliver your healthiest smile faster.
  • More convenient—Damon Braces’ streamlined design means fewer appointments overall so you can make the most of your schedule.
  • More discreet—these appliances are less bulky, have no elastic ties, and have smaller brackets. Plus, Damon also comes in clear, stain-resistant ceramic!

The “bracelift” effect

In addition to enjoying a straight smile, adult patients also often experience what is called the “bracelift” effect. By improving alignment, correcting bites, and widening your dental arch, Damon Braces can improve facial balance. Some patients have noticed fuller-looking lips, lifted cheeks, and a counteraction of facial muscle loss from aging. The result is often a more youthful appearance overall.

Book your appointment!

Ready for your best smile yet? Petty & Bielik Orthodontics can’t wait to help you achieve the smile of your dreams! Call us today at (708) 636-2900 to begin your smile journey.

Adjusting to Hobbies With Braces

June 28th, 2022

Braces are the gateway to a healthier, straighter smile. But they can take some getting used to, especially if your mouth is an important part of your hobbies, such as playing an instrument, participating in sports, or getting creative in the kitchen. Check out these safe and helpful ways to enjoy your favorite activities with braces!

Musicians’ tips

Since braces can change how the teeth, lips, and cheeks sit, braces most affect people who play wind instruments. If braces irritate the lips and cheeks, place orthodontic wax over the brackets. Early on in your treatment, braces may cause discomfort while playing. Practice for shorter periods at first and work your way up to your typical practice length.

After getting braces, brass players should practice adjusting their embouchure (the position of the lips and mouth) until the position feels natural with their new appliances. It may be difficult at first to create the same sound or wind power as before, but don’t be discouraged! The more you practice, the quicker you adapt. For woodwind players, new braces shouldn’t impact your playing, but increased saliva production may occur. Make sure to clean out your instrument thoroughly and let your reeds dry between playing.

Athletic safety

Sports teach cooperation, hard work, and the value of physical fitness. However, sports with high amounts of contact and fast-flying balls or pucks can be dangerous for smiles. All athletes should wear the proper protection for their sport, such as helmets and face masks, as well as mouthguards to protect their teeth. For athletes with braces, traditional mouthguards can negate orthodontic treatment. Ask your orthodontist about a custom-fit mouthguard that you can wear over braces to protect teeth and keep your treatment on track!

Cooking and baking foods

Certain foods are off-limits with braces, but that doesn’t mean that patients who love cooking or baking have to give up their hobby! Just make sure to avoid sticky, chewy, crunchy foods or ones that contain hard chunks. Muffins, banana bread, apple crumble, sponge cake, and soft oatmeal cookies are all yummy, safe-to-eat choices for bakers. Remember that sugar can stick to teeth and lead to cavities, so brush well after having a sweet treat!

The easiest way to enjoy cooking with braces is to look online for braces-friendly recipes, plan your meals ahead of time, and head to the grocery store prepared with a list. Veggies are healthy, colorful additions to a meal, but eating crunchy, raw vegetables with braces can be painful. Sauté or steam your vegetables to soften them. For protein, remember that tough, chewy, well-done meat can be challenging to eat with braces. Choose boneless meats and enjoy them shredded, pre-cut into small pieces, or prepared in a Crock-Pot for a softer texture. Tofu is also a great soft meat substitute.

If you have any more questions about braces and your favorite activity, call our team at (708) 636-2900 or schedule an appointment with us today to start your path to a straighter smile!

Avoiding Stains During Treatment

May 23rd, 2022

Getting your braces off is so exciting! You’ve spent many months looking forward to your healthiest smile. Nothing can dampen the moment more than getting your braces off and seeing dark stains or white spot lesions. Luckily, you can avoid all this if you follow our advice. We want to help you keep your pearly whites beautiful during treatment and for years to come!

Why teeth stain

It’s important to remember that braces will not cause staining, but not taking care of your teeth will.

If not cleaned properly, brackets and wires offer space for bacteria and food particles to hide and build up. When this happens and plaque develops, it creates white decalcified patches and increases your risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Then, when we remove your braces, you can see the darkened spots where plaque built up around your bracket, while the rest of the tooth is a normal shade. Dark beverages or foods, like coffee or tea, can also stain if you don’t brush after eating and drinking. Without good oral hygiene, dyes, acids, and compounds called tannins can darken your smile, potentially leaving behind white spots where your brackets once were.

How to avoid staining

Here are our top tips for a show-stopping smile!

  • Brush your teeth after every meal: There is no skipping out on your oral care routine! The best way to protect your teeth from cavities, decay, gum disease, and stains is to follow a thorough oral hygiene routine. Hygiene is particularly crucial with braces or clear aligners. Brush and floss after every meal, snack, or non-water drink so plaque never has the opportunity to build up and stain your teeth.
  • Avoid whitening products: While it may seem counterintuitive, save whitening treatments for after orthodontic treatment. Since brackets or attachments are affixed to teeth, using a whitening product will cause your smile to whiten unevenly, leaving behind spots.
  • Avoid foods that stain: It can be hard to stop eating and drinking your favorite things during treatment. But do your best to limit common teeth-staining foods or drinks, like coffee, tea, soda, and products with food coloring.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash: One way to avoid stains is to use the right toothpaste and mouthwash. Ask your orthodontist for recommendations for products with fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent demineralization of your enamel, reducing your risk for staining and helping strengthen the enamel.
  • Regular dental cleanings: Don’t skip out on your routine dental checkups every six months while undergoing orthodontic treatment. These regular cleanings help remove tartar and plaque you may have missed during your daily routine and promote a healthy, white smile.

Schedule an appointment

Want to learn more about how to keep your teeth pearly white? Reach out to our office with any questions you have! If you’re looking for a smile upgrade, come into our office for a consultation. You deserve your best smile.

Teeth Grinding: What Is Bruxism?

April 28th, 2022

Stress is a normal and natural reaction in life. It’s easy to become stressed by work, school, or other commitments. However, long-term stress can have negative effects on our physical and mental health. April is Stress Awareness Month, and we want to use this opportunity to inform you about a common stress-related oral health issue that can sometimes be treated with orthodontics: bruxism.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition in which a person excessively grinds or clenches their teeth, often unconsciously. Grinding can happen during the day or at night. Bruxism is common in young children, but the condition is often temporary. Every individual may occasionally grind or clench their teeth, but persistent bruxism is damaging.

Teeth and bite misalignment can increase the likelihood of bruxism. Over time, grinding can cause or worsen TMD, a dysfunction of the jaw joint that leads to pain, jaw locking, and headaches. Excessive grinding or clenching can lead to further misalignment, worn enamel, loose or fractured teeth, and painful migraines. If you suspect you may be grinding or clenching during the day or night, cut back on caffeine, alcohol, and chewing gum. Seek advice from a dentist or orthodontist, they should be able to identify signs of bruxism in your mouth.

How can orthodontics help?

With misaligned teeth and a bad bite, bruxism is more likely and can be more damaging to your smile. By correcting your bite and straightening your teeth, patients may be less likely to suffer from bruxism altogether or may have a less severe case.

For people who grind at night, night guards can prevent serious damage to teeth. Anyone can purchase a general night guard at a drugstore, but for people undergoing orthodontic treatment, an orthodontist can fit a custom-made guard to their smile to protect their teeth and appliances.

These steps can all make a difference in your quality of life. But, if your bruxism persists, the solution may be addressing underlying stress.

Tips to help you destress

Reducing stress reduces teeth grinding and improves your overall mental and physical health. Try integrating the following tips.

  • Exercise: Staying active releases endorphins that boost your mood and fight off stress.
  • Reflect on your progress: At the end of every day, think about what you’ve accomplished (not what you didn’t get around to!).
  • Meditate or listen to your favorite song: Apps and YouTube videos for guided meditation can help you learn to block out negativity. If you have trouble with staying silent, turn up your favorite tune and dance the stress away.
  • Try focusing on gratitude: Focusing on good experiences, people, and opportunities helps take your mind away from stressful subjects.
  • Eat healthily and get to bed on time: A healthy diet and consistent, adequate sleep help reduce the effects of stress. Stress can weaken your immune system, but healthy habits can build it back up.

Book your next appointment

This April, put your health first! Give us a call today to schedule your first consultation or your next appointment. Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we’ll support you through your smile journey and keep the process stress free!

5 Orthodontic Myths That Might Still Be Fooling You 

April 18th, 2022

This month, don’t be fooled by common orthodontic misconceptions. When it comes to your smile and orthodontic health, these myths are no laughing matter.

MYTH: You have to give up your favorite foods with braces

The list of restricted foods with braces is much smaller than most people think! You should avoid foods that are sticky, hard, or easily caught between teeth, such as corn on the cob, popcorn, or sticky candies. These foods bend wires, break brackets, or lead to cavities if they get stuck in your appliances. Fortunately, for patients who are undergoing clear aligner treatment, there are no food restrictions! Just take out your aligners before eating, then brush and floss before putting them back in.

MYTH: Orthodontic treatment hurts

Braces get a bad rap for being painful, but in reality, soreness with braces is temporary and mild (like sore muscles after a good workout!). Your smile may feel most sore when you first switch aligner trays or after installing or adjustments to braces. However, any discomfort quickly goes away. In addition, we also use Damon Braces, a self-ligating technology for increased efficiency and enhanced comfort.

MYTH: After your braces come off, your work is done

After finishing braces or Invisalign®, you need to stay on top of your retention plan. If you don’t wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth may relapse into their original positions, undoing all the time, money, and hard work you spent. Wear your retainer to protect the longevity of your smile!

MYTH: Braces are always obvious and bulky

While some people enjoy being able to personalize their metal braces with colorful elastics, others may wish for a more discreet look. At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we accommodate both types of patients! We are happy to offer clear ceramic braces that resemble natural teeth and Invisalign clear aligners, which are practically invisible. These options allow you to enjoy treatment—without noticeable braces.

MYTH: Only children get braces

A common misbelief among adults is that orthodontic treatment is only for children, but that’s not true! Braces improve oral health and boost confidence in people of all ages. While early treatment for children has many benefits, we can help you get your dream smile at any age. If you’re an adult who is unsure of starting treatment, this is your sign! Not only do braces and aligners help you look and feel great but getting treatment can help prevent issues from worsening down the line.

Don’t be fooled this April! Call Petty & Bielik Orthodontics today to find out more about orthodontic treatment or start your path to a healthy smile.

Helping Your Child Look Forward to Treatment

March 23rd, 2022

Beginning orthodontics when children are young has many benefits—from working with a child’s growth to preventing issues from worsening. But young kids may be nervous to start treatment. New places can be intimidating, and your child may not be comfortable with tools and appliances poking around their mouth for the first time.

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we strive to make all of our patients feel comfortable during their visits, no matter their age. Before your child ever steps foot in our office, we want to help them feel welcome and enthusiastic about their appointment. Check out these helpful guidelines to prepare your child for their first trip.

Set optimistic expectations

Children may worry that their routine will be interrupted by visiting the orthodontist. However, visits to our office are thorough but still streamlined for your convenience! When you introduce your child to the idea of an orthodontic appointment, let them know how excited we are to meet them and the beautiful smile that awaits them.

Start kids young

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist by age 7. At that age, our experts can predict problems that may develop down the road and take care of them early. It is possible your child will not need to start treatment immediately, but regular monitoring helps us screen for changes as baby teeth fall out, bones grow, and teeth shift. It also helps your child get used to our office environment and look forward to visiting once treatment does begin!

Keep children informed

Helping your child know what to expect can encourage them to have a positive attitude. Children might hear about orthodontic treatment (and myths!) from peers. At your child’s visit, we are happy to give you and your child all the correct information and encouragement they need. It is excellent for children to have reminders at home, too! Keep them informed about why they need to maintain proper care of their appliance and emphasize all the positive aspects of the process. Missing out on non-braces-friendly snacks can be a bummer, but the beautiful smile they’ll achieve will be worth it!

Get kids excited about contests and rewards

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we make treatment fun! As part of our smile family, patients can look forward to rewards through Patient Rewards Hub as well as regular contests in the office or on social media—in the past, we’ve given away prizes like gift cards, iPads, gift baskets, and more! To keep up with all of our content, follow us on Instagram and Facebook (@pborthodontics).

Book your appointment

We can’t wait to meet your little one! Book your child’s first orthodontic appointment with our team at (708) 636-2900.

How Orthodontics Can Lead to Better Sleep

March 16th, 2022

March is National Sleep Awareness Month, and our team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics wants to remind you of the importance of good sleep! Sleep is critical for overall health, boosting your immune system, combating chronic diseases, improving mental health, and much more. But did you know that one of the ways that you can sleep better is through orthodontic treatment? By addressing bite problems and teeth or jaw alignment, orthodontists can correct, prevent, or treat some common sleep issues.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which a person’s airway becomes blocked intermittently in their sleep due to relaxed throat muscles preventing airflow. To get enough oxygen, the body wakes itself up in the middle of the night to resume breathing properly. This condition causes people to miss out on a night of uninterrupted rest, and it can become potentially dangerous. 

Orthodontic treatment can prevent OSA in young people by guiding jawbones to grow wide and creating a healthy bite. This allows the airway to remain open, even when muscles are relaxed during sleep. For adults with OSA, orthodontic treatment can correct bites and help manage this issue as well.

Grinding your teeth

Sleep bruxism is a condition in which a person excessively grinds or clenches their teeth while asleep. Grinding wears down enamel and weakens teeth, and it can cause jaw soreness and headaches. Over time, the excessive pressure may lead to fractured or chipped teeth, tooth attrition, and bite misalignment. A misaligned bite exacerbates the damage that grinding does to teeth and may make it more likely that you start grinding in the first place. Fortunately, braces and aligners can correct your smile and often prevent or improve bruxism.

Snoring and mouth breathing

Like OSA, snoring and mouth breathing can be indicative of a constricted airway. Mouth breathing dries out the mouth and prevents saliva from cleaning bacteria away. This is associated with oral health problems, increasing your risk for inflamed gums, cavities, and bad breath. Snoring may be a symptom of sleep apnea, or it may be caused by other factors. Overbites are a common culprit for snoring. Our orthodontists may use braces and clear aligners to straighten teeth and align the bite, which opens the airway and nasal passage, making regular breathing easier during sleep. 

Get a straighter smile—and better sleep!

The benefits of a straight, healthy smile extend to sleep, too! If you are ready to get the smile (and sleep!) you deserve, call the team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics today to schedule a consultation. Wishing you a good night’s rest and sweet dreams!

Orthodontist-Approved Tips for Cold & Flu Season

February 21st, 2022

February weather can be brutal, bringing cold and flu season to schools and workplaces. Though the pandemic has taught us all how to social distance, stay in when sick, and load up on hand sanitizer, sometimes we feel under the weather.

If you are feeling sick and have braces or aligners, be careful! There are several things you should consider so you can avoid bacteria buildup and slowed treatment. Here are our top orthodontist-approved tips to help you get some pep back in your step:

  • Drink up: Fluids always help you feel better when you are ill. But water is even more essential if you have braces or clear aligners. Colds and stuffy noses can lead to mouth breathing, which dries out your mouth and leads to more bacteria building up. Flush away that bacteria with proper hydration!
  • Don’t skip brushing: It is tempting to skip some oral hygiene habits when you feel sick. But you still need to keep up with your smile routine, whether it be wearing your retainer, brushing, or flossing. Believe us—a clean smile will make you feel much better, even if you are tired!
  • Saltwater gargling: Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. The salt can help reduce inflammation or ease sore throats while the water rinses away bacteria. As a bonus, gargling with saltwater is a great option for new braces or post-adjustment soreness!
  • Toss the toothbrush: Once you’ve been sick, throw away your toothbrush! Bacteria can linger, leading to slower recovery or even reinfection after you’ve begun to feel better.
  • Choose sugar free: Did you know that cough drops and cough syrups can be loaded with sugar? Be sure to choose a sugar-free option and brush and floss after taking any to minimize staining or plaque buildup. As always, remember to avoid biting down on your cough drop—you wouldn't want to feel sick and have a broken bracket!
  • Look closely at medications: Some medications (like ibuprofen) reduce inflammation throughout your body. These may impact your orthodontic treatment, so ask us if you are unsure which medications are best to take.

Stay healthy all season

This cold and flu season, take care of yourself and your smile! If you feel less than great, we hope you have a fast recovery. If you have any questions about navigating sickness with braces, call our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team.

Should I Wait Before Starting Orthodontics With My Child?

February 15th, 2022

February is Children’s Dental Health Month! To celebrate, the Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team wants to bring you the facts about children’s orthodontics, including information on the right time to visit, two-phase treatment, and the benefits of treatment for young children.

When to bring your child in

You may think it’s best to take your child to the orthodontist after most of their adult teeth have grown in. However, having a consultation while they still have some baby teeth may help their permanent teeth erupt in a more desirable pattern.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist by the age of 7. Children have a good mix of baby and adult teeth at this age, so our experts can identify existing or developing issues. If your child is under the age of 7 but you suspect that a problem may be developing, you don’t need to wait before bringing them in. Issues easily treated in a child may require surgery or extractions as an adult, which is why two-phase treatment for young children is so common.

What is two-phase treatment?

Phase one usually takes place between the ages of 7 and 11. It may involve expanders, braces, Invisalign® First, or retainers to lay a healthy foundation for permanent teeth and correct jaw growth problems. A resting period occurs between phases as permanent teeth erupt. Phase two then begins, usually involving braces or aligners, to bring teeth into their proper position and in harmony with the rest of the mouth. 

Benefits to early treatment for children

Since children are still growing, our experts can optimally influence that growth. Early treatment guides facial bones, creates space in the palate, and ideally positions erupting teeth. Orthodontic treatment in young children often prevents more serious oral health problems down the line. This not only saves time, since preventative correction is usually much more straightforward, but it also prevents people from spending additional money on more complicated procedures.

Orthodontic excellence for all ages

If your child has already lost their baby teeth, or if you are looking to start adult treatment, don’t worry! It’s never too late to get yourself the smile you deserve. At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we offer treatments for patients of all ages. Our comprehensive treatment plan for patients with adult teeth addresses the mouth holistically in a single phase. If you are ready to give yourself or your child a healthy, beautiful smile, call our office today!

Helping Your Child Embrace Braces

January 14th, 2022

Braces can come with a whirlwind of emotions, especially for young people. Some kids are excited about a straighter smile and can’t wait to get their braces on. Other children may be nervous about their mouths having a new look and feel. If your child is getting braces in 2022 and feels a little worried, check out these tips to help them enjoy their braces journey from start to finish.

1. Let our orthodontists know about anxiety.

If your child is afraid of going to the orthodontist, let our doctors and staff know! We are happy to explain to patients what’s happening during the appointment and how appliances work. Helping your child understand their treatment can help ease their anxiety and get them excited about this experience.

2. Throw a pre-braces party!

The path to a healthier smile is something to celebrate! Since certain foods should be avoided with braces, serve some popcorn and hard candy for your child to enjoy before their braces are installed. For arts and crafts fun, cut out and glue aluminum foil “brackets” on tooth-shaped cutouts of white construction paper. Celebrating this smile-worthy event is a great way to get kids excited.

3. Reward your child for taking good care of their braces.

Kids need to learn proper dental hygiene habits, especially when they wear braces. To encourage flossing and brushing, keep track of your child’s braces upkeep. After a week of excellent oral hygiene, treat them with additional video game time or an extra scoop of ice cream. Setting your child up with these good habits is something that will keep their smile healthy.

4. Help your child look forward to visits.

Regular office visits with our team help us keep your child’s treatment right on track. At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we want to keep patients and parents engaged and excited about the orthodontist, which is why we have a rewards program with Patient Rewards Hub. Joining the program provides opportunities to earn points, enter contests, and redeem cool gift card prizes! If your child needs some extra encouragement, start a new appointment day tradition. Grab a smoothie or milkshake after an adjustment or stop at the playground on the way home. 

Get started today!

Our team is committed to keeping our patients comfortable to ensure that your child will have an enjoyable braces experience. Call us today at (708) 636-2900 to book an appointment.

Orthodontics for Adults: It’s Never Too Late for Your Dream Smile

January 6th, 2022

Happy New Year from Petty & Bielik Orthodontics! If you’re an adult looking forward to the year ahead, you may be wondering how you’re going to make the most of this 2022. One way that many adults have decided to improve their life is by choosing orthodontic treatment!

Orthodontic treatment options for adults have become increasingly comfortable and discreet. And now is the perfect opportunity to try braces for the first time or correct misalignment with aligners. No matter your situation, our treatments can deliver your healthiest, happiest smile in 2022.

How orthodontic care can benefit you

With a beautiful smile, you can command a room with your grin and confidence. However, orthodontic treatment offers much more than just aesthetic benefits. Straight teeth produce a healthier bite and are easier to clean. Plus, they allow you to speak, eat, and chew properly. The benefits of treatment are more than what’s on the surface!

Options for orthodontic treatment

These days, braces are more convenient and pleasant than ever, but the options don’t stop there. New technology in self-ligating braces and Invisalign® aligners provide even more ways to achieve beautiful, straight teeth. 

  • Damon Braces: Using a sliding door mechanism, Damon Braces brackets comfortably and optimally move teeth by avoiding extra pressure from elastics. With wires that utilize thermal technology to work with your body, patients receive excellent results in a shorter timeframe than with traditional braces.
  • Ceramic (Clear) Braces: For a more discreet look, patients can opt for the same great technology of Damon Braces but with ceramic brackets that closely resemble natural teeth. Swapping metal for this highly durable and stain-resistant ceramic material delivers an effective treatment—without being too noticeable.
  • Invisalign: One of the reasons Invisalign is so popular with adults is the near-invisible look of these clear aligners. Invisalign is easy to care for—just pop the aligners out at meals and keep them clean. No foods are off-limits! Invisalign delivers beautiful results for patients of all ages.

This New Year, invest in your health and happiness by starting orthodontic treatment! Call the team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics today to schedule your first appointment and make your resolutions come true.

Your Smile Over the Years

December 29th, 2021

As we end 2021, you may be feeling nostalgic. But, as you flip through photos of this year and previous years, do you notice your smile changing? It may sound surprising, but even as an adult, your smile undergoes several changes as you age. Read on to learn more about how your smile develops from childhood to adulthood!

Your first smile

As children, baby teeth help little ones chew, speak, and smile. While permanent teeth grow under the gums, baby teeth reserve space in the jaw. If baby teeth fall out too early, adult teeth may move into the space, leading to crowding as other permanent teeth come in.

The best age for a child’s first visit to the orthodontist is 7 years old. Exams at this age can detect problems with jaws, teeth, and bites. Early treatment can help correct those issues or prevent them from worsening, leading to healthy, happy smiles.

Teenagers and braces

For many, braces are a rite of passage during the teenage years! Teen treatment allows us to deliver healthy smiles using treatments like Invisalign® or braces. Permanent teeth have grown in during this age, and many orthodontic problems, like crowding or poor bites, may be very apparent. Because of this, teenagers love watching their smiles transform over the course of treatment.

Your smile as an adult

Even as an adult, your smile can change for a variety of reasons. In fact, aging is associated with issues such as teeth crowding, gum recession, teeth yellowing, and dry mouth. Some of these effects can be mitigated or prevented with excellent oral hygiene, but even those who have excellent smile habits will experience some changes.

Daily wear and tear, decreased jaw size due to aging, or forgetting to wear a retainer can all lead to teeth shifting, which can, in turn, impact the bite or the aesthetics and function of your mouth. Fortunately, braces or aligners are effective treatments for patients of all ages. With orthodontic care, adults can have their best smile yet!

Book your appointment

Though smiles may change over time, make sure yours is always healthy and happy. If you are ready to take control of your smile in the new year, book an appointment with our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team! We can’t wait to see you.

Orthodontic-friendly Gifts and Treats for Kids This Holiday Season

December 15th, 2021

The holiday season is here! This time of year is perfect for celebrating family, giving presents, and making delicious treats. However, there are some sweets that children with braces are better off skipping, like chewy, sticky, or hard candies. To help your child fully enjoy the festivities, check out these ideas to get them excited about their orthodontic treatment and the treats they can have.

Stickers to spice up their aligners

Children with braces often enjoy expressing themselves by changing their elastic colors, and children with Invisalign® can customize their smile too! Official Invisalign stickers come in several different design packs. Whether your child prefers sports, foods, animals, emojis, or more, there’s a pack for them. Be sure to only purchase Invisalign-made stickables to ensure that they are safe for your mouth and aligners.

Gift a new toothbrush

Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months, and finding a new toothbrush for your child is a great way to make dental hygiene fun. There are all kinds of toothbrushes on the market that make brushing more exciting for kids, like brushes in their favorite color, with a fun movie character on them, or even brushes that play music (bonus: these brushes help kids clean for a full two minutes). For an extra enthusiastic relationship with brushing, give your child the Colgate® MagikTM AR Toothbrush, which includes augmented reality games that teach them good brushing techniques.

A decorated bag for all their orthodontic needs

It can be hard for some kids to remember everything they need for their orthodontic upkeep. To help them stay organized, choose a bag or case for them to store their equipment. You can choose an accessory with their favorite characters, colors, or patterns, or buy a plain bag and DIY customize it to make it totally theirs! This gift will surely keep your child organized and excited about their orthodontic care.

Try these braces-friendly treats

Who doesn’t love holiday cookies? Your child is free to indulge in soft-baked cookies, even with braces! Treats made with sticky or crunchy ingredients are off-limits since pieces can stick to teeth or become lodged between the brackets and wires. This could cause serious discomfort and potentially damage equipment. Fortunately, soft chocolates and cookies are great options. Be sure to remind your child to clean their teeth and braces well after eating.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so give your child or yourself the gift of great orthodontic care! Call the team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics if you have questions or are ready to book an appointment.

This Thanksgiving, We’re Thankful for Your Smiles

November 22nd, 2021

In honor of Thanksgiving quickly approaching, our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team wants to share what we’re thankful for. We are so thankful for our loved ones, our office, our hardworking staff, and—most of all—our amazing patients! Our patients allow us to deliver healthier, more confident smiles every day. We appreciate that you trust us with the responsibility of caring for and improving your smile. It’s an opportunity we are truly thankful for. Read on to learn more reasons why we are so grateful to serve you.

We’re thankful to transform health

Helping our patients reach their best smiles requires a unique approach for each case. Some patients may undergo treatment for purely cosmetic improvements. For others, orthodontic treatment can address underlying issues that are causing pain or discomfort. For example, braces can help patients with temporomandibular joint dysfunction by bringing the teeth and bite into proper alignment. This prevents teeth grinding and jaw clenching, which cause pain, headaches, and tooth wear over time. In cases like these, orthodontics can be a transformative relief that we are incredibly thankful to provide.

We’re thankful to boost confidence

We feel thankful to promote confidence boosts with each smile transformation. We love watching our young patients grow up before our eyes and seeing their confidence grow with them! Our adult patients often come in wanting to correct problems they’ve had for a long time, so when we help them achieve their perfect smile, we improve their oral health and restore the confidence they have missed for years. According to surveys by Invisalign®, 92% of people feel more confident with straight teeth and 60% report being perceived as happier than they were before treatment. We are so grateful to bring this confidence to life at each visit!

We’re thankful for technology

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we know that our smile family is the best! We are thankful for our patients' dedication as they maintain their appliances and wear their retainers and aligners. Because patients trust us to deliver the best care, we are proud to provide the most advanced treatments possible. We make sure to offer cutting-edge treatments, like Damon Braces, which use self-ligating technology to provide a more comfortable and efficient treatment process, or Invisalign, which discreetly provides patients with a perfect smile.

We are so thankful to have you in our smile family, and we can’t wait to see you at your next appointment! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics.

If I Can Get Treatment Online, Why Do I Need an Orthodontist?

November 16th, 2021

Whether it’s overnight shipping or a drive-thru meal, these days, people are used to quick, convenient services. However, for services such as orthodontic treatment, convenience should not take precedence to quality, expert care. If you are considering orthodontic treatment, here’s why orthodontists are the best people for the job. 

Orthodontists have special training

Orthodontists are specialists in teeth, bites, anatomy, and facial growth. Before beginning treatment, orthodontists give a comprehensive exam to understand your mouth and make sure no problematic underlying conditions, such as gum disease, will prevent you from treatment.

Seeing how your teeth look from the outside is an essential part of evaluating your smile. But orthodontists also take X-rays to understand your unique anatomy—from your jawbones to your wisdom teeth. Orthodontists monitor your whole mouth to provide you with personalized treatment, charting tooth eruption and movement over time. You won’t find this same precision or quality of care with entirely virtual or remote services.

Direct-to-consumer treatment is one-size-fits-all

On the surface, purchasing aligners online and receiving trays in the mail may seem like a hassle-free alternative to traditional orthodontics. In reality, unsupervised orthodontics can ignore or worsen important issues, like bite problems. The American Dental Association has even issued warnings about unsupervised treatment.

Direct-to-consumer aligner companies market themselves as creating dramatic results in a short period, but this is not always good for oral health. Online plans are usually one-size-fits-all, but no two smiles are the same! When it comes to your smile, individualized attention and customized care are important. At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we know that clear aligners aren’t a good solution for everyone, which is why we offer patients a variety of treatment options.

Importance of regular visits

Observational visits help orthodontists determine when a patient is ready to begin treatment or the next phase of treatment. Orthodontists need to see you in person to ensure that your treatment is going as planned and that your teeth are moving safely and effectively. As a clear aligner treatment progresses, orthodontists may also use tools, like attachments (tooth-colored bumps), to ensure that teeth move as planned.

Going to the dentist is important, but for children waiting to begin the next phase of their orthodontic treatment, regular dentist appointments are not a substitute for observational visits. As teeth are lost and grow in, observational visits help orthodontists correct or prevent developing problems to save time and money down the road.

Call our team today!

If you are ready to begin orthodontic treatment, trust your smile to experts like Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. We can’t wait to work with you to meet your goals.

Orthodontic Tips for Athletes

October 23rd, 2021

Sports can teach meaningful life skills, like leadership, discipline, and teamwork, and are a gateway to maintaining an active lifestyle. Orthodontic treatment won’t keep you from participating in sports. However, young athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment need to take extra precautions to safeguard their smiles.

Protection against injury

About 1 out of every 3 traumatic dental injuries happens during athletics. However, most of these injuries are entirely preventable if athletes wear a mouthguard. 

Protective mouthguards can (and should!) be worn by athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment, but for those with braces, traditional mouthguards may be inadequate. Regular mouthguards may impede your braces from shifting your teeth, but custom orthodontic mouthguards fit over braces, allowing them to continue transforming your smile.

Wearing a mouthguard is especially helpful for contact sports, but for people with braces, using mouthguards during low-impact sports can also prevent uncomfortable abrasions from forming inside your lips and cheeks. If you do experience a traumatic dental injury, seek emergency dental care immediately. If any damage to your orthodontic equipment should occur, call right away to schedule an appointment or find out if you need an emergency visit.

Maintaining a healthy oral care routine

Athletics promote physical health, but sugary sports drinks that are popular among athletes can be detrimental to oral health. Sports drinks and similar products, such as energy chews and gels, are full of sugar and high in acid. They can break down tooth enamel, leading to cavities over time. Pick water over sports or energy drinks whenever possible. Since these drinks, gels, and gummies can stick to braces or get locked in by aligners, be sure to brush your teeth well if you consume any of these products.

Athletes are often on the go, but that shouldn’t mean rushing your oral hygiene. For athletes with braces, it is important to brush well after eating, even just after a quick snack before practice. If you plan to be at an athletic event all day, bring a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss with you to use after snacks or meals between competitions.

Book an appointment today

For more information about orthodontic treatment and athletics, give us a call at (708) 636-2900. If you are ready to achieve your healthiest smile, contact us to schedule an appointment. We can’t wait to help you score a perfect smile!

Busting 5 Common Orthodontic Myths

October 12th, 2021

The internet is an amazing resource that can bring tremendous amounts of information to our fingertips in seconds. Unfortunately, this information isn’t always trustworthy. On the news, across social media, and in real life, misinformation often spreads quickly and has staying power. Orthodontia is no exception! We’ve made a list breaking down five common orthodontic myths to help you separate misinformation from facts.

1. Only children can get braces and perfect smiles.

Children, teenagers, and adults can all benefit from braces! Having braces or aligners earlier in life means having more time to appreciate your smile, but there is no expiration date for improving your oral health. For adults looking to correct their teeth with a discreet look, there are many natural-looking alternatives to traditional braces, including clear ceramic braces and Invisalign® clear aligners. 

2. You need serious orthodontic problems to have braces.

Braces can correct a wide variety of orthodontic issues and may need to be worn for very short or rather long periods. Whether you face orthodontic issues that are small or serious, there’s a treatment for you. Your orthodontist should help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile, no matter how minor or severe your problem.

3. Dentists and orthodontists are the same.

You need both dentists and orthodontists to keep your teeth clean and healthy, but they are responsible for different aspects of your dental health. Orthodontists are specialized dentists that undergo an additional two to three years of study to specialize in correcting bite problems and teeth and jaw misalignments.

4. Metal detectors can be set off by braces.

Don’t worry about trouble with the TSA! Metal detectors at airports and other public spaces look for different kinds of metals than what make up your braces.

5. When you get braces, you have to give up playing an instrument.

Musicians who play wind instruments rely on their mouths to help them produce quality airflow while they play. Fortunately, orthodontic treatment won’t interfere with your ability to play. You may have to adjust to the new mouth feel after your braces are installed, but you will be ready in no time.

Don’t let these common myths keep you from the quality orthodontic care you deserve! At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, you’ll receive information you can trust from certified experts. Call our team today at (708) 636-2900 to schedule your next appointment.

Forgetting to Wear Your Retainer? 4 Tips to Make Remembering Easy

September 24th, 2021

Finishing treatment is an exciting accomplishment and one you should celebrate! However, this is not the final step in maintaining your straight smile. Without a retainer, your teeth and bite have a tendency to move back into their original positions, undoing the work you put in with your braces or aligners. 

Retainers maintain the beautiful, straight smile you’ve accomplished by keeping teeth in their new positions. You may struggle to keep up with your retainer-wearing habits—unlike braces, retainers require diligent patient compliance to ensure a lifelong, healthy smile. But don’t let the time and money you spent on treatment slip away!

Responsibly wearing your retainer keeps your perfect smile—and all the benefits that come with a healthy bite—firmly in place. If you need extra support to keep wearing that retainer, check out these helpful tips.

4 Ways to Remember to Wear Your Retainer

  1. Ask your sibling, parent, or roommate for a reminder. Things may tend to slip your memory, but the people who live with you may be able to help. If you ask someone you live with to remind you to wear your retainer, you both have a better chance of remembering. Sometimes accountability is all you need to thrive!
  1. Put your retainer case in an open, visible spot. When you put your retainer in its case, consistently leave it in a visible spot where you see it every day. Keeping it in this spot will prevent you from forgetting where you left it and will ensure that you see it every night. If you are required to wear your retainer during the school day, make sure that you put your retainer in its case at mealtimes and in a visible spot. It’s an easy but costly mistake to accidentally throw away or leave behind your appliance. 
  1. Set up an alert on your smartphone. You may be familiar with the Reminders app on your phone. Setting a daily alert or an alarm for 30 minutes before bedtime is a great way to use technology to your benefit. There are also apps available specifically for orthodontics, like Braces Accelerator, that you can use to notify you. 
  1. Keep a note or reminder on your bathroom mirror. Place a sticky note on your mirror where you brush your teeth at night. You’ll will be reminded of the next step in your nighttime dental routine each time you brush, floss, or wash your hands.

If you’ve forgotten to wear your retainer for a while and you find it no longer fits, schedule a visit with us. After assessing how your teeth have shifted, we can make you a new appliance or determine how to treat any problems. Call us today to book your appointment!

Should I Try to Fix Orthodontic Discomfort at Home?

September 20th, 2021

When you think of braces, do you think about pain? These days, orthodontic treatments and technologies are more comfortable than ever. However, it is common to encounter some mild soreness during your treatment. While sometimes unpleasant, this is a good thing—it means your teeth are straightening and treatment is working!

Though unlikely, you may run into discomfort aside from mild, temporary soreness. Read on to learn what to expect, how to address normal discomfort, and when to call an expert for help.

Good Soreness vs. Bad Pain

Following the installation of any new appliance, soreness and tenderness (think: muscles after a good workout!) can be expected. This discomfort is caused by the force of your teeth moving in your mouth, and it may be felt generally or in a specific tooth. Following an adjustment, this discomfort may return, but it should subside soon. To alleviate soreness at home, drink cool water or suck on ice (don’t chomp!); eat soft foods; and, if needed, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like TYLENOL®.

This “good soreness” shows your treatment is working, and it should be temporary and mild. It is different from “bad pain” that could signal something is wrong. If at any point your teeth or gums feel sharp or shooting pains, begin bleeding, feel extreme temperature sensitivity, or feel pain that worsens over time rather than subsiding, contact your orthodontist immediately.

Palatal Expanders

The first few days following expander installation may be slightly uncomfortable as you adjust. When the expander is turned, it is normal to feel pressure on your teeth, palate, or even in the nose as the device applies force to widen the palate. This pressure may cause slight discomfort, but it is not painful and does not last. If the expander becomes loose, breaks, or triggers “bad pain,” schedule an appointment. 


Soreness is typical following installation and adjustments, but irritation to the inner lips and cheeks may also cause discomfort as brackets rub against the inside of your mouth. This can be solved by covering brackets with orthodontic wax. Should you notice a protruding wire after an appointment, put wax on it. If the wire is too long and continues to poke, come back to the office and have the excess snipped. If bands or brackets become loose or if a bracket or wire breaks, do not attempt to fix them at home. Come in for help right away so we can fix the problem.


Because Invisalign is an alternative to traditional braces, you can expect the same soreness from moving teeth that you would encounter with braces, but without bracket discomfort. You may feel temporary soreness with every new tray. If your aligner’s edge feels rough against your gums, use a thin layer of wax to help or gently smooth the edge with a nail file or emery board.


If you forget to wear your retainer for a while, it may be tight when you put it back on. Wear it for a few extra hours each day or, if your teeth have shifted too much, schedule an appointment for a replacement. Forcing teeth into a far-too-tight retainer is not only painful but also damaging for your smile!

You may experience discomfort if your fixed retainer becomes loose or dislodged and the wire protrudes, but do not attempt to put it back into place yourself. The wire may snap, and you may chip your teeth. Only a professional should attempt to glue it back.

We’re Here to Help!

If you experience discomfort and are uncertain about what to do, give us a call at (708) 636-2900. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Be sure to call as soon as possible if your equipment breaks or if you believe something is wrong, and we will get you scheduled for an appointment to address the problem right away.

5 Ways to Know You've Found a Great Orthodontist

August 23rd, 2021

If you or a loved one has decided to see an orthodontist for the first time, congratulations! You are taking the first step towards a healthier and happier smile. Choosing an orthodontist is an important task, but you may not know what to look for. 

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we want to assure you that you’re in the hands of experts you can trust. Here are five things you should look for in an orthodontic practice. Keep these in mind to help you know when you’ve found your smile family!

  1. Proper education and training: When selecting any doctor, it is most important to make sure that they are qualified to perform the services they offer. Orthodontists must complete a bachelor’s degree, a four-year degree in dentistry, and an additional certification specializing in orthodontics, which includes fulfilling an accredited residency program. Your orthodontist should be properly licensed and certified. Don’t be afraid to ask an orthodontist about their qualifications! They should be happy to share their background with you. 
  2. Professional organization membership: Specialized professional organizations, such as the American Association of Orthodontists or Illinois State Dental Society, provide doctors opportunities for continuing education, which is required to maintain an active license. Participation in organizations is a sign that your doctor is passionate about their line of work and committed to bringing you the most up-to-date care.
  3. Variety of treatment options: At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we offer a range of alignment options, including traditional braces, Damon Braces, and Invisalign®. Our experts work with you to determine the best treatment based on your individual needs and goals.
  4. Flexible payment options: Orthodontic treatment can be expensive, but a good practice will provide payment options that make the process affordable. At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we don’t want costs to keep you from the treatment you deserve, which is why we allow you to customize your down payment and monthly payment arrangements. For more information about financing, contact our office at (708) 636-2900.
  5. Welcoming and trustworthy: Great orthodontists personally connect with their patients, listen to their concerns and needs, and make an effort to help them feel at home; this is what distinguishes the great orthodontists from the good ones! Online reviews are a valuable resource for finding out how happy patients are with their doctor and the results of their treatment. 

You and your loved ones deserve the best care, and the team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics is proud to provide it to you. Check out our website for more information about our practice, and if you are ready to become part of our smile family, book an appointment today!

Caring For Braces at Summer Camp

July 25th, 2021

Happy summer! With the pandemic making traditional summer activities difficult last year, we’re super excited for this year’s summer fun. One of the traditions many kids can’t wait to get back to is summer camp. We want your child to make the most of their time at camp while protecting their smile, too! 

Braces-friendly packing list

Before your child leaves on a summer adventure, ensure that they are up to date with all of their necessary adjustments and appointments. Don’t forget to ask our experts any questions you may have as well!

Pack up all the supplies your child will need to keep their teeth and braces healthy—before they head off to camp. This equipment should include:

  • A toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Floss and an orthodontic threader
  • Interdental brushes to get between wires
  • A mirror to see hard-to-reach areas
  • Orthodontic wax
  • A retainer or aligner case (if applicable)
  • A mouthguard for sports and activities

Camp-goers guide to taking care of braces

Campers should keep up the same oral hygiene routine at camp that they use at home. At camp, children should still be brushing well, flossing at least once a day, and wearing a retainer if they have one. If your child will be out hiking and won’t have access to running water or their orthodontic gear at some point during their adventure, don’t worry! Even when they can’t follow their usual regimen, your child can still keep their teeth healthy. 

Drinking lots of water at snack times and during meals can help flush away cavity-causing food fragments. Summer camp is a place for adventure, but your child should not be adventuring into forbidden foods! Avoiding sugary drinks and snacks that aren’t braces friendly will prevent tooth decay and protect your child’s appliances. Even if your child can’t bring all of their orthodontic equipment with them during activities, bringing along some floss can help them quickly get rid of food particles in their braces. 

To prevent injuries to the teeth and mouth, your child should always wear their mouthguard during sports or high-intensity activities. Orthodontic emergencies are no fun, especially at camp. By following these tips, your child is sure to be all smiles wherever their summer takes them!

My Teeth Look Straight. Do I Need an Orthodontist?

July 13th, 2021

Perhaps you have never visited an orthodontist because you are already happy with the way your smile looks. We love that you love your smile! But did you know that you may have oral health issues you can’t see? Orthodontic treatment does help you achieve a beautiful, straight smile, but the benefits go far beyond aesthetics. Here are some of the non-cosmetic reasons why you should visit an orthodontist.

  1. Bite correction

Problems with your bite may be hardly noticeable to you right now, but they can worsen over time if not corrected. More than just a crooked smile, these problems can lead to worn down or chipped teeth, facial asymmetries, and gum disease. Common bite problems include:

  • Overbite: when upper teeth fit further than they should over lower teeth when your mouth is at rest
  • Underbite: when lower teeth fit over upper teeth when your mouth is at rest
  • Crossbite: when upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth when your mouth is at rest
  • Open bite: when the upper and lower teeth do not overlap when you bite down
  1. Jaw alignment

Many bite problems are caused by misaligned jaws. Luckily, one of the main goals of orthodontics is to fix jaw alignment issues, which can make speaking and eating easier. It is particularly beneficial for kids to begin treatment at a young age because children’s jaws are most adaptable. Adjusting jaw alignment through braces and other treatments may reduce the risk of TMD, a disorder of the jaw joint that can cause migraines, painful chewing, and locking of the jaw. 

  1. Opening up the airway

Orthodontic devices, like palatal expanders, encourage facial growth to create a more open airway. Having an open airway is a crucial preventative step for breathing complications. By opening the airway, orthodontic treatment can also help prevent issues like obstructive sleep apnea. Treatment for sleep apnea involves the use of often uncomfortable breathing assistance machines at night, so preventative action is especially valuable.

  1. Preventing future shifting

Your teeth may look fine now, but with time, new teeth may grow in or be removed. In adults, teeth may become slightly crowded, and preexisting problems can worsen. Orthodontic treatment helps prevent your teeth from detrimentally shifting as a result of these developments.

Book an appointment with our experts!

Even if you have a seemingly straight smile, there are many benefits to seeking orthodontic treatment. If you have more questions about what orthodontics can do for you, contact our team today! Book an appointment by calling or texting us at (708) 636-2900 or visit our website for a virtual consultation.

Hydration Day: Smile & Drink Up!

June 23rd, 2021

In honor of National Hydration Day (June 23), we’re helping you drink up some facts about water and why it’s so important during orthodontic treatment. While everyone knows that hydration is important, up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated—spelling disaster for oral health, breath, and braces. Water has so many benefits, and we can’t wait for you to dive in and learn more:

  1. Staying hydrated prevents dry mouth. Saliva is so important for your mouth. It washes away food particles and coats teeth with tooth-strengthening minerals, like phosphate, calcium, and fluoride. When you don’t produce enough saliva, you can suffer from a problem called dry mouth. Often caused by dehydration, this can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and halitosis. To avoid dry mouth, drink enough water throughout the day. Your smile will thank you!
  1. Water keeps those braces, aligners, and teeth clean. Swishing and drinking water can help you keep your smile clean. Doing so can loosen and wash away particles of food that may be stuck in teeth or appliances. Since braces can make it difficult to clean hard-to-reach areas in the mouth, bacteria can hide and lead to decay. Staying hydrated during orthodontic treatment is a great way to keep your smile clean in between brushes.
  1. Water should be your hydration go-to! Water is the best beverage around—it’s calorie free, has a neutral pH, and contains fluoride. Unlike any other drink, you won’t need to brush or floss after drinking up. Water won’t coat teeth in sugar, like juices or soda, which increase the risk of tooth decay. It won’t wear down enamel, like acidic or carbonated drinks. It also won’t stain teeth or appliances, like coffee and red wine. These can leave aligners looking less-than-invisible or leave spots once we remove your braces. As an added benefit, fluoridated tap water gives your smile a healthy boost throughout the day!

This month, we hope you stay hydrated and cool with plenty of water. It’s the perfect way to celebrate Hydration Day and give your smile a healthy boost!

Book your next appointment

Ready to make the most of your summer and get a healthier, happier smile? Call our team to book your complimentary consultation or visit our website and begin your virtual consult today.

Summer Braces Guide

June 15th, 2021

School’s out for summer—woo-hoo! Although summer is a time to have fun and let loose, it’s important that you maintain your beautiful smile and don’t fall behind on your oral hygiene habits. Read on for our top tips for a healthy, happy summer.

1. Don’t go overboard on the sugary snacks and drinks.

Summer is a time to let loose, but eating an abundance of sugary items is not healthy. Treat yourself to ice cream and popsicles, but do so in moderation. Then, always brush and floss afterward. If not brushed away, sugary particles can thrive in hard-to-reach places and eat away at your enamel.

2. Don’t stop your healthy habits just because it’s summer.

Just because you are taking a break from school, it doesn’t mean you can take a break from your healthy habits. You may find it easier to forget brushing and flossing—especially with schedule changes. To prevent poor oral hygiene, set reminders for yourself, keep a checklist, or have friends or family members keep you accountable.

3. Care for your braces and retainers on vacation!

If you’re away from home, you may find it harder to stick to your oral hygiene routine. That’s why it’s crucial to keep a braces tool kit with you. Be sure to include a travel-sized toothbrush, floss, and orthodontic wax. Don’t forget your retainer and its case. The last thing you want is for your smile to shift while you are far away from our office!

4. Protect your teeth while playing sports.

We strongly recommend wearing a mouthguard if you choose to play a contact sport, such as football or soccer. Headed on a vacation or to summer camp? Pack along a mouthguard just in case! It’s no fun to skip activities because you forgot protective gear.

5. Be compliant with treatment.

We know schedules are hectic in the summer, but remember to be compliant with your treatment. This includes: using appliances properly, wearing aligners for 20 or more hours a day, wearing your retainer as instructed, skipping non-braces-friendly foods, and coming in for your orthodontic appointments. Following our instructions will ensure that your treatment is comfortable, efficient, and healthy.

Have a healthy summer!

We hope you enjoy your time off from school and the beautiful weather. As tempting as it may be, don’t sacrifice your healthy smile amid all the fun! If you have any questions or are ready to book your appointment, call us today.

Braces at Every Age

June 2nd, 2021

Though many people assume that braces are for teenagers, braces are tools for health and confidence—at any age! Using orthodontics, we can improve your jaw, teeth, and bite—whether you are 7 or 70. There are many benefits that come with having an aligned smile at every age, including…

  • Better dental hygiene
  • Improved speech or chewing
  • A confident, beautiful smile
  • Reduced discomfort or pain

Your smile over time

As you get older, your smile, teeth, and jaw change. Children transition from baby to adult teeth and undergo jaw and facial growth. Without orthodontic treatment, this process can leave teeth crowded or the jaw and bite misaligned. As an adult, the jaw narrows over time and teeth will shift. Without orthodontic intervention, this can lead to a narrower dental arch and crowded, crooked teeth—even if your smile was aligned when you were younger.

Braces & Children

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit the orthodontist at age 7. This allows our team to work with your child’s natural growth and set up their smile, jaw, and teeth for success. With two-phase treatment and appliances like palatal expanders, we can expand the dental arch, prevent crowded teeth, and lower the odds that your child may need more intensive treatments or extractions.

Braces & Teenagers

These days, every teenager wants a beautiful, social-media-worthy smile. But few would want to have the clunky, painful traditional braces of the past. Fortunately, these days, orthodontic technology is more efficient, comfortable, and less noticeable than ever. Depending on your teen’s smile needs, we also offer clear aligners, like Invisalign®, which are virtually invisible and fully removable.

Braces & Adults

Today, nearly one in four orthodontic patients is an adult! Whether you stopped wearing your retainer and need to correct your smile or if you have never visited the orthodontist, we are delighted to care for you! Having an aligned smile delivers many cosmetic and health improvements. Using clear aligners, as well as tooth-colored or metal, self-ligating braces, we can deliver a discreet and healthy smile transformation for life.

Get in touch and love your smile!

If you are ready to discover how orthodontics can help you or your child, call our office today! Interested in a consultation from the comfort of your home? Visit our website to complete your virtual consult with our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team.

5 Things No One Told You About Invisalign®

May 24th, 2021

You may have heard of the benefits of Invisalign. But do you really know what this treatment can do for your smile? Read our latest blog to learn more about Invisalign’s technology and the reasons why we love it at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics!

  1. Invisalign is for everyone. Millions of people have received their dream smiles thanks to Invisalign! No matter your age, clear aligners can work for you and your lifestyle. Thanks to their nearly invisible look and being fully removable, patients of all ages love the freedom and convenience of these clear aligners.
  1. Invisalign works quickly. When you use Invisalign trays as instructed, your treatment is fast and effective. Though every case is unique, some patients may only need to wear aligners for a few months before enjoying their final result—depending on their smile needs. Rest assured, no matter your treatment length, Invisalign can deliver the healthy and beautiful smile you deserve.
  1. There are no off-limit foods. Unlike braces, you can remove aligners with ease—making oral hygiene and eating simple. While braces mean no more sticky or chewy foods, aligners just require you to brush and floss thoroughly after any food or drink before putting your trays back in. 
  1. This treatment is an advanced technology. Invisalign is an advanced orthodontic technology that is fully customizable for your goals. Using 3D scanning, our experts can visualize and create your unique treatment plan. For some patients, we may even use attachments, which are tooth-colored buttons that help us accomplish complex tooth movements. Every plan is as unique as the patients we serve! In the world of aligners, Invisalign is cutting edge, trustworthy, and loved by orthodontists and patients alike.
  1. Not everyone is a good candidate. Depending on your smile needs and goals, Invisalign may not be right for you. However, our orthodontists have many other options to transform your health and smile! And all of them work more effectively, discreetly, and comfortably than ever before. Whether our orthodontists recommend self-ligating braces (which come in tooth-colored options!) or aligners, you’ll receive a healthy, beautiful smile.

To book your appointment with our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team, call our office today. Interested in receiving an orthodontic consultation but short on time or unable to visit in person? Use the virtual consult tool on our website to get started from the comfort of your home.

All Things Plaque

April 11th, 2021

We all want that perfect smile. But, while you’re on your orthodontic journey, one major opponent that you’ll face is plaque. Read on to learn more from our team!

Plaque and orthodontic treatment

Plaque contains ever-growing bacteria in your mouth. It mixes with proteins and leftover food and grows under your gum line as well as on your teeth. If plaque is not removed, it can harden and turn into tartar. Tartar forms below and above the gum line and can lead to receding gums, inflammation, and periodontal disease—all of which can prolong your orthodontic treatment. You cannot remove tartar on your own, which is why regular dental appointments are so important, especially if you have braces.

When you have braces, it may be difficult to clean every hard-to-reach area in your mouth. Braces can make it more challenging to effectively remove traces of food and bacteria between teeth, brackets, under the gumline, and around your orthodontic appliances. For those with aligners, lingering bacteria can grow rampantly if you do not clean teeth before putting trays back on.

Unfortunately, orthodontic treatment makes you more at risk for developing tartar—especially if you aren’t being diligent with oral hygiene. The best way to fight plaque is through preventative care. Here are some tips to remove plaque, avoid tartar, and ensure a healthy smile transformation.

  1. Floss. While many people skip flossing, it is imperative during orthodontic treatment of any kind. Toothbrushes cannot reach every area in the mouth. If you have braces, flossing helps remove bacteria that might have become stuck in brackets and wires. For those with aligners, flossing ensures that your teeth are clean before placing your plastic trays on top of them.
  1. Eat well. Think about it this way: when you eat, the bacteria in your mouth also eat. The bacteria thrive on sugary and starchy foods and release detrimental acids once they feed on them. Changing your diet to include healthier meals will make your mouth healthier as well. Remember, no matter what foods you choose, avoid anything sticky, hard, or chewy if you have braces!
  1. Brush regularly. Although it is recommended that people brush twice a day, when you have braces or aligners, you should brush more often and for longer. During orthodontic treatment, brushing after having anything other than water is a smart move. This helps keep your aligners clear, your braces clean, and your smile pearly white!

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy a healthy smile transformation and fight plaque. For more information or to book your appointment, call our team today!

Stress, Your Smile, and Orthodontic Treatment

April 5th, 2021

With April comes Stress Awareness Month, the perfect time to take a step back and evaluate your smile habits. Though they may seem unrelated, your oral health and stress are connected. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, dentists across the country have witnessed a spike in stress-related dental problems. In honor of Stress Awareness Month, read on to discover the ways that your stress could be impacting your smile journey.

Stress and orthodontic treatment

Directly or indirectly, stress can lead to a variety of dental or orthodontic issues. Clenching, grinding, biting your nails, eating unhealthy foods, or neglecting good oral hygiene habits can all be caused by stress. In the past year, up to 70% of dentists reported seeing more issues like bruxism, chipped teeth, and TMJ dysfunction in the chair.

For those undergoing orthodontic treatment, these issues can be even worse. Not only can some bad habits lead to decay, but they can also cause damage to your orthodontic appliances. This means possible discomfort, pain, stress, or even emergency orthodontic visits to repair appliances.

If you clench your teeth while wearing aligners, you can warp your trays. And if you choose to snack on foods like candy or popcorn, you can break your brackets or bend a wire. Even without stress, it can be challenging to keep teeth healthy during treatment since braces create hard-to-reach areas. So, if stress is causing you to skip brushing or flossing, you can easily end up with cavities, gum disease, and a slowed down smile transformation.

Enjoy stress-free smiles

Focus on healthy smile habits no matter what! Practicing excellent oral hygiene and properly caring for aligners or braces can deliver both a stress-free journey and a beautiful, healthy result.

After eating or drinking, brush and floss—even if you’re enjoying a late-night snack; wear a mouthguard during sports; and book those biannual appointments with a dentist. Finally, follow all the instructions from our orthodontists. If you stop wearing your retainer, remove your aligners too often, or eat foods that aren’t braces friendly, you can end up in a stressful scenario—with a less than ideal result.

Come see us today

All month long, de-stress and embrace healthy oral hygiene habits. Have any questions about how to best care for your smile? Call our team and book a stress-free appointment with our experts.

Adults, It’s Time to Get Your Best Smiles!

March 28th, 2021

Though some people may think that braces are only for teens and children, this isn’t true! According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in four orthodontic patients today is an adult. With spring on the horizon, it’s time to transform your health and smile. Read more to learn about whether orthodontic treatment as an adult is right for you!

Orthodontic technology is better than ever

Many adults had orthodontic treatment as a child and either did not complete it or did not wear a retainer. In these cases, their teeth likely regressed. If your first experience with orthodontics was uncomfortable or unpleasant, you may be unsure whether treatment as an adult is the right choice.

These days, orthodontic technology is better than ever! Newer advancements, like self-ligating Damon Braces as well as clear aligners, allow adults to have incredible smile transformation experiences. Treatment today is more discreet, efficient, and comfortable than ever before. As more adults discover how advanced orthodontic treatment is, we know that even more will want to transform their smiles.

Getting treatment as an adult

If you are insecure about your smile, there is no need to deal with a bad bite, gaps, misalignment, or spacing. Using appliances, like braces and aligners, we can promote excellent dental health and create a beautiful, lifelong smile.

At our practice, we use advanced technologies, like Damon Braces and Invisalign®. Self-ligating braces, like Damon Braces, improve upon traditional metal braces. Using a slide mechanism instead of elastic ties to connect arch wires to brackets, Damon Braces are more hygienic and efficient. These braces do more than just align your teeth and bite. Among other aesthetic improvements, they also widen the dental arch, provide facial support, and correct gummy smiles. Plus, for those adults who want a discreet transformation, these braces come in clear as well.

Depending on your goals, we may recommend clear aligners, like Invisalign. These are fully removable and even less noticeable than clear braces. No matter what treatment our experts recommend, we will always deliver your best smile and health!

Book an appointment today

As part of our smile family, you can feel confident in your orthodontic care. Our experts are ready to help you achieve the dream smile you deserve. If you have questions about receiving treatment as an adult or if you want to book an appointment, call our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team today.

Celebrating Dentist’s Day

March 6th, 2021

Today is Dentist’s Day, a time to celebrate smiles and dental health! But, should you thank your orthodontist on this holiday? Is your orthodontist even considered a dentist? Find out everything you need to know in this blog!

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist. However, the type of work that they engage in is very different than that of a general dentist. General dentists are primary dental providers. They promote dental hygiene through regular exams and refer patients to specialists when needed. They regularly diagnose and treat oral conditions, like decay or gum disease. In the office, they provide a wide range of services, such as regular cleanings, teeth whitening, tooth extractions, and filling cavities.

In comparison, orthodontists diagnose, prevent, and treat issues with facial structure, tooth and jaw alignment, bites, and aesthetics. Using specialized appliances, including braces, clear aligners, and palatal expanders, orthodontists are able to influence facial growth and correct problems to improve a patient’s health, comfort, and confidence.


Both dentists and orthodontists have a dental degree—either a DDS or DMD. However, orthodontists are required to obtain additional education and training before going into practice. They must complete an orthodontic residency program for an additional two to three years. During this time, they receive specialized training and education that helps them deliver healthy smiles.

Celebrating Dentist’s Day

This Dentist’s Day, celebrate all dental professionals—from your general dentist to your orthodontist! Both are needed for a healthy, happy smile. While orthodontists focus on bringing the face, teeth, mouth, lips, and jaw into harmony, oral health and orthodontic treatment are directly connected. Aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to develop gum disease or cavities. When you have misaligned teeth, some areas in your mouth may be difficult to reach, making them prone to poor oral hygiene.

And, during orthodontic treatment, maintaining excellent oral hygiene is crucial—especially since food can easily get stuck between brackets or in your aligners. Sticking to a healthy routine, including booking regular appointments with your general dentist, will promote the healthiest results.

We hope you have a happy and smile-friendly Dentist’s Day! Have any questions for our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team? Call us for more information or to book an appointment.

Baby Teeth and Orthodontics: Two-Phase Treatment

February 26th, 2021

Happy Tooth Fairy Day from Petty & Bielik Orthodontics! At our practice, we love the Tooth Fairy! While she cares for baby teeth, we care for baby and adult teeth. When the Tooth Fairy first comes into your child’s life, it’s the perfect signal to bring your child in for an orthodontic appointment. Read on for more about two-phase treatment and why it could be a great option this Tooth Fairy Day!

All things baby teeth

Children begin to lose their 20 baby teeth starting around the age of six. During this time, 28 adult teeth will gradually take their place over the next six or so years. As these larger and more numerous adult teeth erupt, orthodontic issues, like crowding, a poor bite, or misalignment, can begin to develop.

While many people may think that you need to wait for adult teeth before beginning orthodontics, this is not the case. Although teen and adult braces are very effective, orthodontists can intervene far earlier with something called two-phase treatment.

What is two-phase treatment?

There is no cookie-cutter age for orthodontic care. However, we recommend that kids visit around the time that permanent teeth first begin to come in—typically this is at seven years old. At this point, our orthodontists can detect issues early, like crowding and misalignment, and create a two-phase treatment plan if it is beneficial.

Two-phase treatment can minimize the likelihood that your child will require surgery or extractions later on. By working with your child’s natural facial growth, we can often treat problems early—before they become more serious. For instance, two-phase treatment allows us to address issues like crowding. If we notice the signs of a narrow dental arch, we might use appliances, like a palate expander. This device guides a child’s growth to create space for teeth as they erupt. A wider arch then becomes the foundation for a healthy smile transformation during the second phase of treatment.

Book your child’s first appointment today!

Our team (and the Tooth Fairy) love helping children enjoy their healthiest baby and adult teeth! If your child has begun getting visits from the Tooth Fairy, now is a good time to book an appointment with our team. We can’t wait to help your child enjoy their healthiest, happiest smile!

Love Your Smile This Valentine’s Day

February 13th, 2021

When it comes to holidays, Valentine’s Day is so sweet! However, even though we love this holiday, celebrating recklessly can lead to a less-than-ideal smile. Our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team is breaking down our top three tips for a healthy and happy Valentine’s Day.

1. Know your chocolates. Chocolates are one braces-friendly candy that you can indulge in all Valentine’s Day—as long as you choose the right ones. Before opening up that box of chocolates from your valentine, make sure you know what you are eating. You should always avoid chocolates with caramel, toffee, nougat, and nuts since they can break your braces or bend wires.

Forest Gump taught us that “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” However, this is not true—you can usually predict which chocolates are braces-friendly! Sticky chocolates with toffee and caramel fillings are almost always square or rectangular. You’ll be able to spot and avoid nut chocolates easily, which are bumpy and textured. Your safest bets are round or oval chocolates. They are usually soft cream-filled or ganache.

2. Love your smile transformation. Keeping your braces or aligners safe helps you get the best smile transformation possible. If you have braces, avoid chewy, hard, or sticky foods. Then, after eating any meal or snack, brush and floss. For an extra-clean mouth, rinse with water to remove small food particles beforehand.

If you wear clear aligners, remember to remove them before eating or drinking. This keeps your aligners clear and prevents tooth decay. After you finish, brush and floss thoroughly before you wear your aligners again. Since acid-neutralizing saliva cannot reach your teeth when you wear aligners, maintaining excellent oral hygiene is even more important.

3. Freshen up your breath. Even though your Valentine’s Day date may be virtual this year, keep that breath fresh! Many patients with braces experience halitosis since food particles can get stuck in hard-to-reach areas. Taking extra time to brush and floss, staying hydrated, and keeping a few sugar-free mints on hand can quickly remedy your bad breath. If you are out of the house, be sure to bring a travel toothbrush with you for a fresher smile!

We hope you all have a sweet, healthy, and happy Valentine’s Day! This holiday, love your smile and practice moderation with any candies or sweets. The last thing you need on Valentine’s Day is a cavity! For more tips or to book an appointment, call our team at (708) 636-2900 to book a consultation. 

Smile-Friendly New Year’s Resolutions

January 10th, 2021

With the New Year underway, now is a great time to add some smile, braces, or aligner tips to your resolution list. We know that with a little dedication, you’ll be on your way to a healthier smile as you tackle the new year! Read on for some resolution ideas from our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team.

Resolutions for braces

1. Make sure you brush and floss!

Maintaining good oral hygiene is always important, but it is even more important when you have braces. Otherwise, food can easily get stuck in brackets or wires and cause decay.

2. Quit bad habits.

Chewing on ice, biting your nails, or holding items in your mouth are all bad habits to quit. Each can cause tooth or braces damage.

3. Fix your diet.

If you are a fan of sugary or acidic foods and drinks, now is the time to kick those habits! Sugary and acidic foods can lead to decay or cavities—especially if you find it difficult to clean your teeth while you wear braces. Everything in moderation!

Resolutions for Invisalign® wearers

1. Keep your aligners in!

Though Invisalign is fully removable, don’t abuse this power. Only remove aligners to eat, drink, brush, and floss. The less frequently you wear your Invisalign, the longer it will take to achieve your desired results. Plus, when you wear aligners the proper amount, you’ll barely notice them.

2. Don’t chew up those trays.

Though it may be tempting, avoid chewing on aligners. This can cause them to break, warp, or become damaged. Remember: trays are not convenient to replace and they aren’t toys.

3. Clean your aligners.

Since aligners sit on your teeth for hours on end, they can harbor bacteria. Make sure you regularly clean aligners to remove bacteria. And, always use cold water (hot water can warp plastic!).

With these tips in mind, we know you’ll be ready to kickstart 2021 with a clean, aligned, and healthy smile!

Start Your Smile Transformation From Home!

January 10th, 2021

2020 has been an unprecedented year. And with telecommuting, working from home, virtual school, and social distancing, we understand that your schedule is busy. Leaving the house these days can be both nerve-wracking and, at times, inconvenient. But, there’s good news! If you’ve always wanted a better smile, now you can begin your smile journey from the comfort of your home—before the hectic holiday season begins. Read on to learn more about how our new virtual consultations can set you up for the smile you’ve always dreamed of having.

How our virtual consultations work

Our virtual consultation tool is trusted and used by orthodontists across the country. Whether you are interested in traditional braces, Invisalign ® , or ceramic (clear) braces, you can use our virtual tool to start your smile transformation. The process is simple and convenient. All it takes is a few minutes of your time, some pictures of your teeth, as well as information and preferences from you.

After you submit your information, we will get to work—custom-creating your treatment plan. Your plan includes everything you need to know, from details about your smile makeover, to pricing and the estimated length of treatment. Once this plan is ready, we will contact you. We’ll answer your questions and help you navigate through any concerns that you may have.

Best of all, virtual consultations are no strings attached. So, if you decide that treatment is not right for you at this time, do not worry! And, if you do love your treatment plan, you can book your first appointment ahead of the busy holiday season. In the office, we are taking every precaution and following safety guidelines set by governing organizations like the ADA, CDC, and AAO. We are going above and beyond to keep you safe and smiling.

Get started today

Virtual consultations are ideal for anyone who has a busy schedule or would prefer to minimize trips outside. With the holidays approaching, we can help you get started with your dream smile—in just a few minutes from the comfort of your home. To begin, please visit our website. Click on the blue icon in the lower right-hand corner and start your consultation today!

If you have any questions about this service or if you would prefer to book an in-person appointment with our team, please reach out at 708.636.2900.

Staying Active With a Safe Smile

December 12th, 2020

Sports and athletics are a big part of our lives. Though some school or recreational sports may be on hold because of the pandemic, kids are still practicing their skills and playing in the backyard. However, sports can pose a danger to smiles—especially if your child is undergoing orthodontic treatment. Read on to learn what precautions can keep your young athlete’s smile safe!

How do braces impact sports?

When you have braces, you can play all of the sports you love. However, oral injuries are more dangerous because of the wire and metal in your mouth. Contact sports, like basketball or football, pose the greatest risks. Fortunately, you can prevent injury, costly dental surgery, and pain by wearing a mouthguard. Even during non-contact activities, like gymnastics and horseback riding, a trip or fall could lead to cuts, lacerations, and broken braces. Choosing a custom-made mouthguard that fits over your braces provides the most protection during any sport. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, more than 200,000 oral injuries are prevented with mouthguards each year.

Does Invisalign® keep my smile safe?

Aligners, like mouthguards, fit over the teeth and are made of plastic. However, aligners are not protective and do not prevent injuries. If you get hit in the mouth with a baseball, Invisalign may not cut up your mouth like metal braces, but you can still sustain injuries to your mouth, teeth, gums, and tongue—while also bending or breaking your aligners. We can create protection that fits over your aligners to keep you safe. While you wear Invisalign, do not use boil and bite mouthguards. These mouthguards are carefully fitted to your teeth, which can hinder treatment. Not to mention, shaping them requires high heat, which can warp aligners.

What else can you do to protect your orthodontic treatment?

Sports drinks, sugary snacks, and athletics go hand in hand. However, these can be extremely damaging to your smile. Sports drinks, like Powerade, can cause more damage than sugary soda. Water is your best bet for hydration! (And, it is the only thing you can drink while you wear aligners!) If your young athlete wants an energy-boosting snack, encourage them to eat before or after hitting the gym, field, or court so they can practice proper oral hygiene.

By choosing a mouthguard and following these tips, patients can stay active and protect their smiles. So, get out there and focus on your game! If you are interested in a custom mouthguard or if you have any questions, please contact us today.

Tricks or Treats? Braces-Friendly Halloween Guide

December 12th, 2020

Halloween is such a fun time of the year! But, it is one of the highest candy consumption days in America, too. While you should enjoy frightful or ghoulish costumes, avoid the terrors of broken brackets. Read on to learn which classic candies are tricks or treats for your brackets and wires! And, read our orthodontists’ top tips for post-Halloween dental care and braces hygiene.


Sticky candy is a big no-no. This type of candy slips up wires and damages brackets. Sticky Halloween favorites include Skittles, Starbursts, and Tootsie Rolls. They may seem harmless, but don’t feed into the temptation. You should also stay away from candies that are hard to chew on. The amount of pressure that they place on braces leads to broken brackets and bent wires. Trust us…that bite of Laffy Taffy is not worth it!


If you’re new to having braces, you may assume that you are doomed to a Halloween filled with vegetables and water. Fortunately, that is not the case! The most adored braces-friendly candy is chocolate. Your safest bets are HERSHEY’S KISSES, REESE’S Cups, and Kit Kat Bars. These soft chocolate bars allow you to chew without applying pressure to your braces and are the least likely to cause tooth decay since they wash away from teeth easily.

Nonetheless, you should avoid chocolate with caramel fillings or nuts (bye-bye SNICKERS®!). Caramel can easily slip between brackets and loosen them. Then, you’ll have to be on the way to the orthodontist the next morning!

Whats next?

After you’ve seen all the tricks and have had your share of treats, what is next? We advise you to brush and floss after you indulge in your candy buffet. This ensures that there isn’t any residue stuck between brackets or on teeth. Gargling or swishing with water before brushing and flossing help loosen food particles for an even cleaner mouth. Remember: any candy can cause cavities if not brushed away, so be sure to always clean your teeth and braces after indulging in a snack!

These are the tricks and treats of Halloween that will help keep your braces clean and your smile bright. Have fun, be safe, and don’t forget to floss!

Healthy Braces Food Swaps

December 12th, 2020

Happy Eat Better, Eat Together month! This October is all about how eating food as a family can ensure that everyone gets more balanced meals. This is especially true for people with braces. While we help patients get their healthiest smiles through orthodontic treatment, what a patient eats has a big impact on their oral health and braces journey.

Choosing to cook, purchase, or provide braces-friendly food is one way to help you or your child’s orthodontic treatment go smoothly. If you have someone in your family who is wearing braces, here are simple swaps you can make in your diets to promote healthy braces.

Minimize candies: This Halloween season, people with braces need to know which candies to skip or indulge in. Hard, sticky, and chewy candies are always harmful to braces, as they can easily bend wires, chip teeth, break brackets, and lead to cavities. Soft chocolates as well as desserts like pudding or cookies are acceptable alternatives.

Eliminate sticky or chewy foods: There are plenty of sticky or chewy foods to look out for! Raisins, dates, or dense dinner rolls can easily damage braces as well. Swap out dried fruit for fresh fruit. And, instead of chewy rolls, choose soft biscuits or bread instead.

Get rid of nuts: Nuts may pack a protein punch, but they also are very hard. Even without braces, nuts can lead to chipped teeth. With braces, they can cause brackets to break. For protein, snack on a soft egg instead. If you use nuts as a topping for ice cream or other treats, swap them for something healthy and soft like berries or opt for decadent chocolate sauce or whipped cream.

Steam veggies: Hard veggies, like carrots, are healthy, but they’re too hard for braces. Instead of eating these crunchy snacks raw, steam them.

Don’t chew on your ice: This bad habit is detrimental to teeth and braces. Skip this teeth-chipping and bracket-breaking practice. Instead, choose a frozen yogurt if you want to enjoy something cool that won’t harm braces.

Use soft meats: Tough or chewy meats like steak or jerky can damage braces. Try cooking with healthy chicken, fish, or ground turkey instead.

Pick your pizza crust wisely: Avoid crunchy or chewy crusts for your pizza. Enjoy a soft crust or cut the crust off for your safest smile.

With these simple mealtime changes, you can help any family member enjoy a healthy braces transformation! For any questions or to book an appointment, call us today at 708.636.2900.

Why You Need to Care for Your Tongue When You Have Braces

December 12th, 2020

Why You Need to Care for Your Tongue When You Have Braces

Using floss between each tooth? Check! Brushing your teeth and around your brackets? Check! Removing bacteria on your tongue? Eh…maybe. Some individuals may skip this step in the dental routine, which causes bacteria to accumulate on the tongue. Here are some reasons why neglecting your tongue may be detrimental to your oral health during orthodontic treatment.

Beware of:

1. Halitosis

When you have braces, you’re already at a higher risk for bad breath since food can get trapped in your brackets, wires, or o-rings. However, without proper tongue hygiene, bacteria will gradually amass on the back of your tongue. The buildup of bacteria allows halitosis to form due to the bacteria’s production of sulfur compounds. If you are practicing excellent oral hygiene with braces (flossing, brushing, and rinsing with water), your tongue could be to blame for bad breath!

2. The spread of bacteria

If you have diligently brushed your teeth and cleaned your brackets, but neglected your tongue, that bacteria can spread throughout your mouth. Having braces already makes maintaining oral hygiene more of a challenge. Don’t make it harder for yourself! Removing bacteria from the tongue regularly keeps your entire mouth healthier.

3. Periodontal disease

Bacteria buildup on the tongue can contribute to the development or worsening of periodontal disease when it travels to the gums. Gum disease is a serious threat—but especially problematic during orthodontic treatment. It causes issues like swelling, inflammation, and bad breath, so keeping your periodontal disease under control, or ideally avoiding it altogether, is crucial for a safe orthodontic experience.

Lowering Risks

In order to limit these hazardous possibilities, implement a simple tongue-cleaning step into your oral hygiene routine. After brushing your teeth, take an extra 30 seconds to brush your tongue—using your toothbrush or the tongue brush that is sometimes on the back of a toothbrush head. Starting from the back of your tongue to its tip is the most effective method. All you have to do is either brush side to side or back and forth, then rinse out your mouth. Simple, right?


To help out with the process a bit, you could also purchase a tongue scraper. It works to remove the mucus-based layer in which bacteria gather. Caution: don’t scrape too hard or be aggressive while scraping. This could cause a breakage in the tongue’s surface. You don’t want to start the morning off with a bloody tongue!

Bacteria is bound to seek housing in your mouth due to its amenities—darkness, warmth, and dampness. It’s time to put up the eviction notice and prevent bacteria from getting back in! When you have braces, brushing your teeth, alone, won’t get the job done. If you have any questions about oral hygiene with braces, call us today!

Celebrate Self-Improvement Month with a New Smile

December 12th, 2020

September is Self-Improvement Month, the perfect time to set new goals to accomplish or finally catch up to the ones you never got around to on your New Year’s resolutions list! If social distancing and stay-at-home orders got in the way of your smile goals, now is the perfect time to improve your smile.

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we can improve your smile and health, giving you newfound confidence and motivation with guaranteed results. If you want a new smile, but do not know which treatment to get, here is a breakdown of our services that might help you decide:




With masks worn in public, many people working from home, and social distancing rules enforced, braces are a great solution for people of all ages! Take advantage of your time at home and transform your smile. We proudly offer metal and ceramic self-ligating braces—each fully tailored to your unique dental or aesthetic goals. In our office, we’re keeping you safe with additional protocols, so you don’t have to worry about coming in for appointments!



Invisalign is a great, nearly invisible alternative to traditional braces. These custom-made clear aligners help you attain your desired smile quickly, offering a unique and affordable solution for improving your smile, health, and confidence. They offer a discreet solution to your dental problems while giving you the smile that you deserve! Even better, you do not have to worry about any of the food restrictions that come with traditional braces, as these aligners can be easily removed for all mealtimes or snacks.

Whether your dental needs are minor or more complex, Invisalign could be the perfect solution for you and your smile!


Book your appointment!


Start your Self-Improvement Month by working toward a new smile! This would not only improve your aesthetic appearance, but the improved jaw alignment as a result of the treatment would have health benefits like pain relief, lesser tooth wear, and sinus relief. If you want to kick-start your journey to your best smile or if you want more information, give us a call at (708) 636-2900.

Back to School Smile Tips

December 12th, 2020

Excited to rock your best smile when school starts up soon? Whether it’s over Zoom or in person, feeling confident in your smile is always a recipe for success! Even if you’re wearing a mask and no one can see your braces, keeping them clean is still crucial for a healthy orthodontic treatment.

Here are our best tips for clean braces, better oral hygiene, and how you can smile confidently from now until the back-to-school season!


Caring for braces during the school year


Metal, traditional braces are more fashionable, light, and comfortable than ever! Plus, there are a variety of aesthetically pleasing ways to customize your braces. Patients are able to choose their o-ring colors from a rainbow of options to glam up their look with some vibrancy. A fun idea would be to get elastics that represent your school’s colors. This is a unique and creative way to demonstrate school pride as you greet everyone on your first day back over Zoom…we know your teachers will love it!

If you wear traditional braces, before your first day of in-person or remote learning, remember to brush and floss for a deep clean. Get any stubborn food out that might get stuck between brackets. No one wants broccoli in their teeth!

If you are at home for virtual learning, be sure to take advantage of it! Brush after every snack, meal, or non-water beverage for cleaner, healthier braces.


Caring for Invisalign® during the school year


If you wear Invisalign®, you also need to make sure you’re cleaning your aligners and teeth—whether at home or in school. Luckily, these removable aligners are the easiest when it comes to maintaining the cleanliness of your teeth. One quick method for cleaning aligners is to rinse them in water and brush them with your toothbrush. It is important to avoid using very hot water as it can cause damage to the clear aligners. While they’re drying, you will have time to focus on your teeth and help keep them pearly white.


Book an appointment with us!

Get ready to dominate the classroom and say “cheese” in your back-to-school photos, in class, and over your Zoom calls! If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment, please call our office. We hope you have a great back-to-school season with plenty of smiles.

National Fresh Breath Day

December 12th, 2020

Did you know that bad breath is often a result of harmful bacteria in the mouth? This odor can lead to social stigma and low confidence. While wearing braces, maintaining proper oral hygiene requires a little extra work. If you aren’t diligent, you may be more likely to develop bad breath. This Fresh Breath Day, prevent halitosis and keep your braces clean by following these five easy and helpful tips.

1.     Brush your teeth after every meal. While wearing braces, you should ideally brush your teeth about 30 minutes after finishing every single meal, as brackets are highly susceptible to having food particles stuck in them. These particles get broken down by bacteria and contribute to bad breath. To fight against the bacteria, brush your teeth after every meal to ensure that your mouth stays clean and fresh.

2.     Drink more water. Drinking water is highly effective in cleaning your mouth of any remaining food particles and bacteria. A dry mouth also contributes to bad breath, since saliva is essential for washing away dead cells and neutralizing acids in the mouth. Therefore, you should aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day to keep braces clean, stay hydrated, and feel refreshed.

3.     Carry a travel toothbrush and dental floss. If you stay out of your home for extended periods and eat multiple meals during this time, there is a very high chance of food particles getting stuck in your braces. A quick fix for this is to carry dental hygiene equipment in a travel bag. This allows you to clean your teeth and braces whenever you feel the need to do so. It’s the perfect way to rock a fresh smile throughout the day!

4.     Carry breath mints with you. Breath mints can offer a quick fix for bad breath. If you feel self-conscious at any time, just pop a mint and bring back your most confident smile. Be sure to not choose a chewy mint or bite down on a hard mint, as both can damage your braces. Overall, breath mints offer a quick solution while you are adjusting to an improved hygiene routine with braces.

5.     Do not miss your dental appointments. It is important to regularly visit your dentist for cleanings and exams so they can help you maintain fresh breath and a confident smile. This is especially important as you navigate life with braces. Regular dental visits will help keep your orthodontic treatment on track!

While you actively follow these tips for fresh breath, don’t forget why you are getting braces in the first place—so that you can smile with confidence! So, remember: brush well, keep smiling, and make the world a brighter place!

Braces for Kids: What is the Right Age for Braces?

December 12th, 2020

Braces are a fantastic way to straighten your child’s teeth. Beginning this orthodontic treatment at an early age will correct your child’s teeth problems in a quick, efficient manner. At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, located in Oak Lawn, Illinois and providing braces for people living in Oak Lawn, Illinois, we can use braces for kids, retainers, and many other orthodontic treatments to improve your child’s teeth.

Braces for Kids: What Is the Right Age for Braces?

Every child is different. Accordingly, the right age to receive braces will depend on the condition of your child’s teeth, the type of dental issues that they are using braces to correct, and other factors. That said, a child will usually get braces when they have most of their adult teeth and have lost the majority of their baby teeth. This process frequently occurs when the child is eight to fourteen years old.

Receiving a Consultation

Although children typically will not receive braces until they are over the age of eight, the American Association of Orthodontists says that your child should start to visit the orthodontist when they are about seven years old. At this point, it’s common for your child to have some adult teeth and some baby teeth.

During your consultation, we will look at your child’s mouth and analyze the condition of their teeth. We will let you know when you should begin using braces or other orthodontic techniques to correct your child’s dental issues.


What Signs Indicate That My Child Needs Orthodontic Treatment?

There are a number of signs that may indicate that your child needs to receive braces for kids or another orthodontic treatment. For example, if your child’s jaws make popping sounds or other noises when they move their mouth, you should consider visiting an orthodontist. You should also come in for a consultation if your child’s jaw is disproportionate to their face and other features.

In addition, your child might need orthodontic treatment if their teeth are crowded or misaligned. Sucking on thumbs and other fingers can also cause your child to develop teeth problems. If your child engages in these habits or has other signs of early teeth issues, you should visit us for a consultation.

What Are the Benefits of Getting Early Orthodontic Treatment?

There’s a reason why braces for kids are a very popular orthodontic treatment. Braces and other orthodontic techniques can be used to provide extra space in your child’s mouth and improve the condition of crowded teeth. Further, we can reduce issues associated with thumb sucking and improve your child’s ability to speak clearly.

3 Braces-Friendly Summer Fruits

December 12th, 2020

As the summer sun grows hotter and we trade in those sweatpants for shorts, we’re all dreaming of a tropical, summery vacation! Imagine yourself on the beach with the waves crashing against the shore and a bowl of mouth-watering fruit beside you. What does your bowl consist of? Drs. Petty & Bielik have the answers. Here are three braces-friendly summer fruits that will help you get into a summery mood—even if COVID-19 has interrupted your travel plans!

  1. 1. Strawberries

Those with braces should avoid hard fruits, as they can cause damage to your wires and brackets. Fortunately, strawberries are easy to bite into and don’t put much pressure on the front teeth. Plus, despite the bright red juices that squeeze out of this fruit once you bite into it, strawberries actually prevent, rather than cause, staining. Strawberries contain malic acid, which serves as a natural bleaching tool for your teeth. It is essential to floss after eating berries, however, since the tiny seeds may get stuck in between brackets or your teeth. Altogether, sweet strawberries are the perfect summer fruit to have your teeth glistening in the sun!

  1. 2. Watermelon

Another tasty option for the summer is watermelon! Other than their fresh and sweet flavor, watermelons offer many benefits for oral health. This fruit assists in preventing plaque buildup due to its abundance of fiber. This, paired with a high water content, fights to remove bacteria and repair the enamel. If the seeds in your watermelon are an issue, there are seed-free varieties that you can invest in. These are great options that are completely braces friendly—no risk of biting into a hard seed here! To make your summer more colorful, you can even buy watermelon in a variety of colors, such as red or yellow.

  1. 3. Pineapple

If you’ve been recently adjusting to braces or Invisalign®, pineapple is the ideal fruit for you—especially if you are experiencing any soreness. It is the only fruit that contains bromelain. This enzyme actually decreases inflammation in the mouth as it prompts healing. Pineapples also contain other enzymes that remove stains and improve periodontal health. Since the stringy parts of pineapple may get stuck in braces, incorporating pineapple in your diet via smoothies is a great way to take advantage of bromelain—without damaging your braces or leading to tooth decay!

These three types of fruits will have you energized all summer long while keeping your oral hygiene in tip-top shape! For more tips, please check out our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics Blog or call us to book your next appointment. We hope you’re having a happy summer!

Culinary Arts Month: Fun, Braces-Friendly Recipes

December 12th, 2020

Did you know that July is Culinary Arts Month? To celebrate all things related to culinary arts, we’re breaking down a few fun recipes that are completely braces- and Invisalign ® -friendly.

After all, even though you might have a few dietary restrictions during orthodontic treatment, there are plenty of healthy, delicious, and braces-friendly foods to enjoy!

We’ve compiled a few delicious recipes from across the United States. While you’re at home social distancing, why not check them out and try cooking something new? We know you’ll enjoy these tasty, braces-friendly options:

Fun recipes to try!

Northeast: American Chop Suey is a delicious meal with macaroni, ground beef, tomato sauce, and plenty of flavor. It’s soft, braces friendly, and is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters!


South: Shrimp Creole is a spicy dish with shrimp, tomatoes, onions, celery, and bell peppers. Eat it over some brown rice for extra fiber!


West: Mission Burritos are always a crowd favorite! These burritos are loaded with a variety of braces-friendly ingredients—meat, beans, pico de gallo, cheese, and sour cream. Add some lettuce or guacamole for extra healthy goodness.


Midwest: Detroit-Style Pizza is a deep-dish pizza with tasty marinara sauce on top. There are a number of different toppings you can add—from pepperoni to olives and everything in between. If you are wearing braces, however, remember to skip the crust to avoid bending any wires or breaking any brackets!


With these new recipes in hand, we hope you enjoy cooking during Culinary Arts Month! After trying these dishes from around the country, perhaps you’ll even find a new favorite when it comes to braces-friendly foods. For more information about what you can and can’t eat with braces or to book an appointment with our team, call us at 708-636-2900. We hope you cook up something tasty this month!

Quarantine Smiles

December 12th, 2020

This time at home might have caused you to slack on your oral hygiene or even feast on sugary, chewy, or sticky snacks. If this sounds like you, it’s time to knock out plaque and keep your braces clean as you continue social distancing! Quarantine has put most things on halt, but with these methods, your smile will be back to shining its brightest.

Fix your diet!  

Opting for a healthier diet is crucial for oral health—especially when you have braces! Your smile is more likely to suffer from stains and decay if hard-to-reach plaque gathers around your brackets. Limiting the intake of sugary or acidic foods and beverages will be a big help in avoiding decay and staining. Replacing that brownie with juicy strawberries will provide oral health benefits! Foods enriched with calcium and Vitamin C assist with strengthening teeth and promoting gum health. Examples of healthier snacks include citrus fruits and dairy products. Taking small steps such as brushing after your daily snack or using a straw when you drink juice or soda will assist in preventing plaque buildup with your braces.

Cleaning properly?

Drs. Petty and Bielik cannot stress enough how important flossing is! Skipping this part of your oral routine is highly detrimental—especially when you wear braces. Flossing reaches the places that your toothbrush cannot and gives you cleaner teeth and braces. Flossing also helps remove plaque along the gum line. Straying away from flossing may eventually lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

Switch out your toothpaste or mouthwash

Want to fight plaque and staining even more? Check to make sure that your mouthwash or toothpaste are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA)!  Choosing a product with the ADA’s seal of acceptance is one way to make sure you are making the most of your oral hygiene routine—with products that are shown to help your smile. Although you won’t see immediate results when you switch brands, over time you will enjoy cleaner teeth and a healthier mouth.

Visit us for your next appointment! 

Applying these suggestions in your dental routine will make sure your orthodontic treatment progresses safely and healthily. Pretty soon you’ll be back to enjoying your healthiest, happiest smile! If you are ready to book an appointment with our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team, call us today at 708-636-2900.

3 Things to Do on Smile Power Day!

December 12th, 2020

Did you know that Smile Power Day is June 15? This wholesome holiday is all about celebrating the power of happiness and smiling. This year, we want you to make the most of the holiday!

Drs. Petty & Bielik have compiled three ways that you can celebrate Smile Power Day and spread joy to others:

  1. Focus on gratefulness

The past few months have certainly been difficult. However, even during tough times, it is important to focus on gratitude and count your blessings! Doing so will give yourself a reason to smile…which is always important considering the fact that smiling is linked to better health and happiness! Today, focus on anything that makes your day brighter—from your pets and family to your Chicago community and friends.

  1. Practice kindness

On this holiday, give everyone around you a reason to smile, too. Be kind, have heartwarming conversations, spend time with your neighbors, or write thank you notes to the people in your life who make your days better! Each of those actions spreads smiles and joy for everyone. There’s no better time to start practicing kindness than on Smile Power Day!

  1. Improve your smiles health

When you have braces or aligners, having good oral hygiene is so important for maintaining a beautiful and healthy smile! Brushing and flossing regularly will prevent plaque buildup and fight harmful bacteria in the mouth. Now is also the perfect time to skip foods that might get stuck in your braces or damage your teeth. Foods that are high in sugar, like soda and candy, or highly acidic foods, like citrus fruits, are good options to cut back on. They can make your smile more susceptible to tooth decay. Instead, swap those foods for ones that have high calcium and phosphorus levels, like dairy products or leafy, green vegetables. As always, remember to visit the dentist frequently during your entire orthodontic treatment. This will ensure that your teeth are healthy, clean, and cavity free during your braces journey!

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we are proud to offer a range of services like self-ligating braces and Invisalign® to give you that perfect smile—on Smile Power Day and every other day, too! Ready to feel the difference of your healthiest, happiest smile? Call us now at (708) 636-2900 to book your appointment with our team. We hope you have a happy Smile Power Day!

How We Will Be Keeping You Safe

December 12th, 2020

Dear valued patients, families, and friends,

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health! While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety. As we continue to serve you, we want to reassure you of the many steps we’re taking to keep you safe. Our office employs infection control recommendations from the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued.

Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice. And, in light of coronavirus, we have added even more health and safety measures to ensure that when you receive care, it is both safe and comfortable.

Here are the new ways well be keeping YOU safe in the office:

  • We are providing health screening questions before your appointment.
  • We are asking patients to brush their teeth before their appointment.
  • Face masks or coverings are required.
  • We are implementing touchless, virtual check-ins.
  • We ask that parents and siblings wait in the car. Patients under the age of 10, those who have a disability, or any new patient under the age of 18 may be accompanied by one adult.
  • We are checking the temperatures of all patients and parents.
  • We are asking all patients to sanitize their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • We are limiting seating in our waiting area.
  • We are spacing out appointments to ensure social distancing and to limit the number of people in our office at any time.
  • We are scheduling appointments by phone or text. Some will be done chairside.
  • We are disinfecting high-touch areas like door handles and bathrooms frequently.
  • Items that are difficult to clean and disinfect (magazines, children’s toys, etc.) are temporarily unavailable.

Two days before your appointment, you will receive a letter from our team with more detailed instructions for your visit. These include a consent form and a health screening questionnaire that you must sign and bring with you.

If you are ready to book a new appointment, please call us at 708-636-2900. We are currently reaching out to all patients who are waiting to be rescheduled, so there is no need to call us at this time for any rescheduling purposes. Please note: If you already have a scheduled appointment, we will not be able to reschedule you for an earlier date. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you for your continued loyalty and support. We appreciate your cooperation, patience, and understanding as we continue to transition back to regular care. We look forward to seeing you soon!


Drs. Petty & Bielik

Mothers Day Gift Guide

December 12th, 2020

We hope you are staying safe and healthy as we start another week of social distancing! Though we miss seeing you in the office, know that we are still here for you. Remember, if you have any emergency issues, please call us so we can help you! We will be checking our messages frequently.

In the meantime, stay in touch. Find us on Facebook or Instagram @pborthodontics for more tips, news, and updates as we all practice social distancing together!

The Ultimate Mothers Day Guide

This Mother’s Day, spread smiles and celebrate the beauty of family! We’ve compiled our top ways to enjoy a lovely, social distancing-approved holiday, while supporting local businesses in our Oak Lawn community.

  1. Treat mom (and the rest of your family) to something sweet. Place an order at a local bakery, like Simply Sweet Creations or Nothing Bundt Cakes, and enjoy delicious baked goods. Just make sure kids brush their teeth after enjoying a special treat!
  2. Share a beautiful bouquet. This Mother’s Day, purchase a bouquet for mom and a stranger—it’s a wonderful way to spread love. At Lucy’s Flowers, you can donate a bouquet to someone in a local nursing home or hospital who could use extra cheer.
  3. Plan a backyard picnic. On your next essential grocery run, pick up some special occasion, braces-friendly snacks from your local grocer. We recommend soft cheeses or sandwiches!
  4. Support your favorite restaurant. Order takeout on Mother’s Day or purchase a gift card for a future family meal. It’s a great way to show some love to local restaurants and treat mom to something special.
  5. Enjoy quality time. Though this Mother’s Day may be very different than usual, we encourage you to pause and enjoy your day. After all, Mother’s Day is all about celebrating families and the time you spend together!

We hope you and your family have a happy and healthy Mother’s Day. We can’t wait to hear about all the things you’re doing to stay busy!

What Are the Advantages of Ceramic Braces?

December 11th, 2020

For many people, the decision to straighten their teeth is an easy one. The bigger question is which way to go about it, as there are several options to choose from. Ceramic braces are a popular choice that offers numerous advantages. For expert work with these braces in Oak Lawn, IL, Petty & Bielik Orthodontics delivers beautiful results with less trauma than traditional braces.

Ceramic Braces in a Nutshell

Old-school metal braces were a technology that nobody liked – that is, until the day they were finally removed from the mouth. Everyone loved the results; they just hated the process. Children (and adults) endured mouth pain, anxiety over food and drink, a stigmatizing look, and a metallic taste in the mouth for years in order to have straight, healthy teeth.

In the 1980s, orthodontic specialists began experimenting with high-tech composite materials that had been originally developed with NASA technology. Today, these ceramic materials are frequently employed instead of metal braces. Both methods are used in the same way and perform the same function. But because the ceramics are less visible than metal, the experience of “having braces” is very different, and for many patients much more tolerable.

What Are the Advantages?

The differences between ceramic and metal self-ligating braces aren’t generally a matter of results. Both methods are proven and effective. The main advantages of ceramics are in the patient experience. Ceramic braces offer a host of physical, emotional, and practical “pros” that make them the most popular choice for professional results.

Much Harder to See

Ceramic braces straighten teeth with largely the same techniques as today’s modern metal braces. The biggest and most obvious difference is that ceramics are much less visually prominent during the 18-24 months it takes for them to finish their work. In fact, depending on the condition of the patient’s teeth and the choices made in the actual coloring of the ceramics and supporting wire, these braces can be nearly unnoticeable.

The ceramic materials used can be matched to virtually any tooth color. The wire that holds the braces in place can also be nearly invisible, making the braces even harder to see.

Major Emotional Relief

All people, young and old, would love to have straight teeth. Many, however, miss out on this opportunity because they feel that they’d be too stigmatized to be seen wearing braces for all that time. Adolescents in particular are highly sensitive about the way they look. A spot of acne is a temporary blemish in theory. As all teens (and parents) know, they can be much more than that in practice.

Being able to go through the orthodontic process without the stigma of being seen as a “metal mouth” is extremely liberating. This lower emotional overhead of orthodontic treatment makes for happier patients with less anxiety about their appearance. Moods are better, sleep is better, stress is lower. These are not just cosmetic advantages. They are, in fact, health advantages.

More Comfortable

Another reason why ceramics are preferred over metal is that they are less intrusive in the mouth overall and less likely to cause injury. Metal braces have come a long way since the clunky apparatuses the Baby Boomers lived with. Even today, metal braces can be painful, scratchy, and irritating to both gums and inner cheeks. Ceramic braces have smaller brackets and smoother, rounded surfaces.

No Damage to Enamel

What’s the effect of a foreign object on your teeth for years? In the case of ceramics, it’s minimal. Discolored tooth enamel through demineralization once conventional braces come off is a real concern for both patient and orthodontist. Ceramics leave less of a visible “footprint” even after they’ve been removed, with minimal damage to precious tooth enamel.

Easier to Remove When Done

Ceramic braces are easy to take out when the teeth are finished with their straightening. Even though the braces have been strongly bonded to your teeth, they are easily removed by a “de-bonding” agent that chemically undoes the adhesive. There is no after-effect on the tooth’s looks or integrity. When ceramic braces are worn, they’re barely visible. When they’re finished, they leave no trace of themselves besides straight teeth.

Fast Results

Ceramic braces can straighten teeth more quickly than other methods. Depending on the severity of the case, straightening with this method usually takes a year and a half to two years. That’s comparable to metal braces – although those can stay on for as long as three years — but faster than tray methods such as Invisalign. Also, because they’re so visually subtle, the time spent wearing ceramics doesn’t feel as long as metal braces.

How Do I Get Started?

The decision regarding which method you’ll choose to straighten your teeth is something you’ll want to discuss with our orthodontic masters. The “best” decision relies on a number of factors and varies by patient, age, condition of the teeth, and willingness to spend the time and effort for the orthodontic process.

Start on your journey toward a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile by scheduling an appointment with Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL. We’re the experts with braces in Oak Lawn, and we’ll show you all the latest treatments and available options, and come up with a plan that will work best for you and your dental goals.

Fun Social Distancing Ideas

December 11th, 2020

As we begin another week of social distancing, you may be looking for some ways to limit your kids’ screen time. We’ve compiled some fun ideas to keep your family smiling at home! And remember, even though our office is temporarily closed, we are here for you. Call us if you have any emergency orthodontic problems. We will be checking our messages frequently.

  1. Thank our everyday heroes. Encourage your kids to draw pictures or write letters of thanks that you can hand out later to doctors, nurses, or grocery store workers.
  2. Play sports to keep your kids active. Just make sure they wear a mouthguard if they are playing a sport that has a risk of tripping, falling, or getting hit with a ball.
  3. Read a book. Help support local authors and boost your child’s reading skills. We recommend the following!
  • Love STEM and womens history? Check out one of Suzanne Slade’s picture books. We recommend Dangerous Jane, the story of the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and A Computer Called Katherine, the story of how Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician, helped NASA put a man on the moon!
  • Ready for a fun mystery adventure? Check out Blue Balliett’s art mystery novel, Chasing Vermeer, which is set in Chicago.
  • Looking for an inspiring true story? Fern Schumer Chapman’s award-winning YA novel tells the story of a Jewish girl’s escape to the United States during World War II.
  1. Play board or card games. Enjoy family game night and keep things exciting by trying out a new game each week!
  2. Create a chore chart. Encourage helpful behavior at home—just be sure to include “chores” like proper brushing and flossing!

Want more fun tips, practice updates, as well as videos and pictures from our team? Follow us on social media (@pborthodontics). And, from all of us at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we hope you are staying healthy and well!

Share Smiles At Home

December 11th, 2020

Missing our amazing team? We miss seeing you, too! Remember, even though we’re temporarily closed, we’re still here for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out—we will be checking our messages frequently in case you have any orthodontic emergencies.

In the meantime, keep up with us on social media (@pborthodontics) and make the most of your days at home! Here are some of our favorite ideas to put a smile on your face while you practice social distancing.

Share smiles at home! 

Your kids may not be at school, but they can still learn so much while enjoying their downtime. We recommend the following:

Storyline Online: On this website, your child can enjoy some of his or her favorite picture books while actors, like Betty White or Kristen Bell, read them aloud. Complete with immersive video graphics, each story has an accompanying activity guide for extra learning.

Duolingo: Have you always wanted to learn a new language? Duolingo is the perfect app for kids and adults, alike. Plus, it’s free!

Looking for some family fun? We’ve got a few ideas!

Heads Up! and Heads Up! Kids: A fun game that combines charades and guessing, you can enjoy classic Heads Up! or a picture-only version with Heads Up! Kids.

Finders Seekers Mystery Box: With this subscription box service, you’ll receive a box of family-friendly (ages 10+) puzzles shipped right to your door.

Keep up those good smile habits! 

As always, use this time to keep your braces extra clean and healthy. Commit to these three brushing habits for your best smile in the upcoming weeks:

  1. Brush often enough. Since you’re home, brush after every single meal—for two minutes without appliances or four minutes with appliances.
  2. Use the right technique. When you brush, be sure to use a 45-degree angle and don’t brush too hard.
  3. Know when to throw out your toothbrush If bristles are bent or frayed or if you’ve recently been sick, it’s time to throw away your toothbrush!

Want more tips? Follow us on social media (@pborthodontics) to see how our staff members, orthodontists, and patients are spending their time at home! From all of us at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we wish you another healthy and safe week of social distancing.

What Do Retainers Do?

December 11th, 2020

After completing your treatment with braces, you may be wondering what the next step is in your journey to getting a great smile. The answer is retainers. That’s where the experts at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL come in. Schedule a meeting with us at the Oak Lawn office, and we will assist you in making sure your transition into getting a retainer is as effortless as possible.

What Do Retainers Do?

Life After Braces

A retainer is a type of orthodontic appliance given to you after completing your treatment period with braces. After removing your braces, your teeth need to be kept in place in order to ensure that they maintain proper alignment. By making sure your teeth stay in place during the adjustment period, this appliance will help ease the process of transitioning after your braces have been removed.

How Does it Work?

Retainers are specifically designed to keep the teeth in the correct position to prevent them from regressing back into misalignment and requiring further treatment. They are fashioned to maintain the teeth’s new alignment and prevent any possible change or deviation in positioning. By keeping the teeth in place, this allows the surrounding gums, muscles, and bones the time necessary to adjust to the new placement of the teeth.

Difference in Types

There are a few different types available, each uniquely designed to focus on different areas of treatment. The three main types are traditional, aligner style, and fixed. Each design has a unique set of characteristics that provides focused treatment based on your individual situation.


Traditional retainers are usually removable. They have a metal wire which surrounds the teeth and are attached to an acrylic arch that is positioned at the roof of the mouth to provide comfort and stability. The metal wire is able to be adjusted as you near the completion of your treatment.

Aligner Style

Aligner style (also known as Essix retainers) is a clear, accommodating design that is a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to the traditional metal wire retainers.

Contrary to the metal wire design, the aligner style has the option of fitting over the entire arch of your teeth, going from canine to canine. They are made from a mold of your teeth, which allows for a seamless fit.


Fixed retainers are made of wires that are placed behind the teeth. In many cases, they are usually only needed for up to a year after having the wisdom teeth removed, but sometimes are simply left in place for life.

Do I Need One?

Retainers play a crucial role in maintaining a great smile. During the treatment period when you have your braces, the braces gently guide your teeth over a period of time into a space of proper alignment. As you transition into the next phase of treatment, the goal is to make sure that the alignment remains the same.

This will ensure that the teeth are working properly together, not overcrowding, and are not causing discomfort as your mouth adjusts to the new positioning. Doing so prevents regression and keeps your progress up.

Safekeeping Instructions

It may take some time for you to get acclimated to the new adjustments that you’ll have to make. Following the proper safekeeping techniques will make sure that your treatment continues down the right path. There are many things to keep in mind. Here is a list of proper techniques to make sure it stays in great condition:


Much like wearing braces, you must always be sure to brush your teeth after every meal. You should also floss at least once a day. While brushing your teeth, you can keep your retainer clean by brushing it as well, using a toothbrush and toothpaste. Doing so will get rid of any leftover plaque. While cleaning, make sure you are not using hot water, and never put it in the washing machine.

Proper Use

The most important thing to remember is to constantly make sure that you are always wearing your retainer. Do not go any extended period of time without wearing it unless directly instructed by a doctor. Another crucial item to remember is to take it out before eating, for every meal. Once you take it out, be sure to put it back in its case and keep track of it, as it can get lost very easily. And as a final point of reminder, be sure to remove your retainer if you plan on going swimming.

Getting a retainer is a very critical step in having a healthy, radiant smile. By wearing one, you will be able to maintain your teeth so that you never have to worry about braces again. Before you know it, braces will become a thing of the past.

Get the Treatment You Need

There are many different types of retainers, and each is designed for a different purpose, so you can be sure to find one that can be tailored to your specific needs. Visit us at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL today. Stop by for a consultation and let us guide you through your life after braces and choose the best retainer for you.

Spring Break Smiles

December 11th, 2020

It’s finally March, and you know what that means… spring break is right around the corner! During your time off, we hope you get to leave the cold, Chicago weather and enjoy some fun and relaxation.

If you’re planning to travel this spring break, taking a few precautions ahead of time can help keep your orthodontic appliances safe and healthy! Follow these tips from Drs. Petty & Bielik to ensure you have a wonderful, braces-friendly vacation—without any orthodontic mishaps.

Stick to your routine

Because you’re in a new location with a new schedule, it’s easy to forget to follow healthy dental hygiene habits. However, it’s so important that you keep up with those habits. Even if your days are jam-packed, remember to brush twice a day and floss daily to prevent tooth decay. Keep your smile healthy during spring break with good oral hygiene habits!

Pack a braces toolkit 

Before you travel, put together a mini toolkit for your braces. That way, you can have access to everything you’ll need to keep your smile in check. Always include a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, floss threaders, orthodontic wax, and rubber bands (if you are currently wearing them). You should also bring small nail clippers—if you have a broken wire, they’re a great resource to have on hand! With your braces toolkit, you’ll always be prepared—no matter how far away you travel.

Stay hydrated 

Traveling can cause people to become dehydrated, which is bad for your teeth and whole-body health. Water irrigates the mouth and rinses away leftover food debris. Whenever you travel, keep a reusable water bottle on hand. Just be sure to empty it before going through TSA security at the airport!

Check for long wires and broken brackets before you leave

Have an issue with your braces, like long wires, or broken brackets? Please schedule an appointment with our orthodontists before you leave town for spring break.

If you are ready to book an appointment with us at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, please call us today! And, if you do run into any issues while on your spring break vacation, contact us as soon as possible. We are always happy to help you keep your smile and braces healthy.

Making Healthy Choices When You Have Braces

December 11th, 2020

March is National Nutrition Month! This is a great reminder that we should critically evaluate our dietary habits, focusing on making a healthy change for our bodies.

When orthodontic appliances limit what you can eat, it might seem more difficult to come up with smart, nutritional meals and snacks. It might be tempting to stick to a diet of ice cream and pudding, but your braces aren’t an excuse for unhealthy choices! There are so many tasty and healthy foods that are braces-friendly. Here are some great suggestions for nutritious foods that are safe for your braces:

  • Oatmeal: Looking for a tasty, filling breakfast? Oatmeal is a great choice when you have braces. It’s soft, so it won’t damage your orthodontic appliances. Plus, it’s a very nutritious food. If you want to add protein, try stirring in some peanut butter or almond butter.
  • Yogurt: Yogurt doesn’t require any chewing, so it’s great for braces. Plus, it’s packed with probiotics, healthy dairy, and nutrients! However, you should check to make sure that your yogurt flavor doesn’t have a ton of added sugar.
  • Steamed veggies: Even though you’ll have to avoid crunchy, raw veggies for a bit, you shouldn’t be steering clear of vegetables altogether! Try steaming your favorite veggies to make them soft. That way, they’ll be equally delicious and perfectly safe to eat with braces.
  • Hummus: Looking for a protein-packed snack? Look no further than nutrient- and fiber-rich hummus! It’s a great way to fill up after school. Try eating your hummus with a soft veggie like red pepper or cucumber for an extra nutritional boost.
  • Soft fruits: Next time you’re craving something sweet, try a banana, peach slices, or some blueberries. These tasty and soft fruits will help to satiate that sweet tooth!

This National Nutrition Month, make sure to eat healthily. It’s important for your body, and it’s also important for the health of your teeth and braces. Food is the fuel that keeps your body running, and when you make smart nutritional choices, you’ll feel so good and energized! If you want any more tips for staying healthy with braces, get in contact with us at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics today!

How Long Does an iTero Scan Take?

December 11th, 2020

Gone are the days of going to the orthodontist and submitting yourself to long, uncomfortable minutes with goop draining from your mouth as your doctor attempts to get an impression of your mouth. No longer are you miserable as you count the seconds until that large tray that was shoved into your mouth can be removed. Now with an iTero scanner, orthodontists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL can get a much more accurate image of your teeth and jaw without any pain and discomfort, and all within a few minutes.

What Is an iTero scanner?

When you first step into the exam room at the orthodontist, you will notice the unit itself, a display screen, and a small wand. Unlike past messy and time-consuming processes used to collect data about your teeth, an iTero scanner cleanly and efficiently captures information about your mouth by taking 6,000 images per second. This radiation-free scanner then provides a digital, 3-D image that your orthodontist uses to determine treatment. In just two to three minutes, the process is concluded. The scanner can be used for those seeking regular braces or Invisalign.

Scanning Steps

The Scan Itself

During the scan, the orthodontist will insert the compact, hand-held wand into your mouth. He will then move the wand around your mouth as the scanner takes digital images. If you need a short break, he can easily stop and start the scan. Children and adults appreciate the ease with which these new images can be created.


Once the scan concludes, you and your orthodontist will have a three-dimensional image of your mouth on the screen. This real-time display allows the doctor to determine immediately whether he requires any additional images or not.


After examining the digital images, the orthodontist can now determine the best course of treatment for you. Because the images are readily available on the display screen, the doctor can discuss the results and potential treatment that same day. All of this can be done in minutes.

Benefits of Using an iTero Scanner

No Impressions

The scanner is able to capture digital images cleanly with only a small wand being inserted into your mouth instead of a messy impressions tray. In addition, there are no more pesky retakes, since the doctor is able to judge instantly whether the images are complete. Finally, since the images are digital, they can be shared easily with other professionals, such as your regular dentist or Invisalign, and these images can be accessed at any time before, during, and after treatment, resulting in a better outcome.

Better Accuracy

One of the primary features of this new technology is its ability to get better results than the old tray and putty methods. In the past, small movements on the part of the patient could affect the result, just as the removal of the tray could also disturb the impression. For those patients who may have had difficulty opening their mouths wide enough for long periods of time, that is no longer an issue, since the wand that the orthodontist inserts into your mouth is small and unobtrusive.

On-Screen Display

Since this device is able to capture 6,000 images per second, the orthodontist now has a highly reliable, 3-D picture from which to determine treatment. Even molars and wisdom teeth can be captured digitally, allowing the orthodontist to make highly informed decisions, which results in a better outcome for the patient. Furthermore, this digital image appears immediately. This technology’s quickness enables both you and your orthodontist to visualize the results and discuss a treatment plan the same day rather than waiting for the usual two to three weeks that it used to take to schedule your next consultation.

Patient Comfort

Because of this new technology and its lack of trays and goop, patients find this new way of obtaining images to be far more comfortable than that of the old. Again, since the images can be completed in two to three minutes, the patient’s time in the chair is vastly improved. Due to the ability of the orthodontist to stop and start the scan at any time, the patient can even take a short break if one is desired. While there are other scanners out there on the market, they are often large and require titanium dioxide powder to be used, as well. The iTero is infinitely more desirable from the perspective of comfort.

The Next Steps to a Better Smile

Your first step to improving your smile is to book an appointment for a consultation with your orthodontist. At that time, we can examine your teeth and discuss possible treatment options. If you need Invisalign or braces in Oak Lawn, come see us.

For most patients desiring to have a comfortable, accurate picture of their mouth, resulting in superior treatment, the iTero scan would be the preferred tool. In just two to three minutes, you and your orthodontist will have a highly precise, 3-D picture of your teeth and soft tissue structures. If you are interested in taking the next step to an improved look, contact the experienced orthodontists at Petty & Bielik in Oak Lawn, Illinois, to schedule your consultation. We look forward to helping you achieve a beautiful, satisfied smile.

National Tooth Fairy Day: Early Orthodontic Treatment

December 11th, 2020

On February 28, we recognize National Tooth Fairy Day. Losing teeth is an exciting part of childhood—it’s a sign that your child is getting older and growing up. Plus, a visit from the Tooth Fairy makes the moment even sweeter!

If your child has already had a visit or two from the Tooth Fairy, it may be the right time for you to begin thinking about orthodontic treatment. Did you know that the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children visit the orthodontist no later than the age of seven? Most people assume that orthodontic treatment shouldn’t begin until all baby teeth are lost—usually in the preteen years. But, with treatment strategies always evolving, experts now recommend early orthodontic visits for proactive care when needed.

Why consider early treatment? 

Your child’s baby teeth may seem straight, but there could be underlying problems with their jaw growth, bite, and emerging adult teeth. However, if our orthodontists are able to examine your child’s mouth, they can make a preemptive plan to treat or monitor the development of these underlying issues. If we are able to catch these issues early on, we can begin treatment at the optimal stage of development and correct problems before they progress.

Through an early intervention plan, we can prevent more serious orthodontic issues from developing. If we are able to treat bite and jaw alignment problems while the bones of the face are still malleable, we can produce better orthodontic results. Additionally, treatment plans can expand the palate, making room for more adult teeth to grow in. This can save your child from painful tooth extractions down the road.

In many cases, early orthodontic treatment will allow our experts to achieve results that would not have been possible if the permanent teeth had already grown in. If we are able to intervene early in your child’s oral development, it can make later orthodontic treatment shorter, less complicated, and less uncomfortable.

If your child has already met the Tooth Fairy, it’s the right time to get in contact with us at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics! We can conduct a simple pre-screening to ensure that your child is able to get the best orthodontic care possible. Call us today to get started.

5 Quick Tips for More Comfortable Braces

December 11th, 2020

Did you know that February 9 is National Toothache Day? If you have braces, you might be familiar with a little dental soreness. Luckily, any discomfort is temporary, and you can feel confident knowing that your teeth are moving to deliver you a straight, healthy smile. If a little discomfort is getting you down, fortunately there are many simple ways to alleviate that soreness and enjoy your braces experience!

Here are Dr. Petty and Dr. Bieliks top suggestions for more comfortable braces:

  1. Take a painkiller. Over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or Tylenol can help alleviate initial soreness when you first get your braces adjusted. Although we don’t recommend taking these medications on a consistent basis, it can make a big difference if you take pain medication about half an hour before your orthodontic appointment. Just remember to read the label carefully and follow the recommended dosage!
  2. Use orthodontic wax. We recommend that you use orthodontic wax to cover up the rougher parts of your braces or any area that is irritating the interior of your mouth. Wax will help your mouth adjust to the sensation of braces and help relieve any discomfort caused by the new brackets and wires.
  3. Try a numbing gel. It’s easy to find over-the-counter oral numbing gels at any grocery store or pharmacy. If your teeth or gums are sore, try applying some of this gel to the area—it will numb your mouth for a couple of hours.
  4. Put some ice on it. Ice is a simple way to relieve temporary inflammation or soreness. Try holding an ice pack to your sore jaw. Whatever you do, don’t chew or suck on ice: you could easily break your braces or bend a wire!
  5. Gargle with saline. Swishing and gargling with salt water is a simple, all-natural way to alleviate pressure, inflammation, and discomfort. Salt water will also help prevent infection and irritation of your gums and cheeks. Make your own saline at home with warm water and a few pinches of salt.

With these tips in mind, you can relieve any discomfort and enjoy a comfortable smile transformation. If you have more questions, please contact our office today!

Orthodontics: Can Adults Use It Too?

December 11th, 2020

Do you have spaces or crowding in your teeth but wonder if you are too old to wear braces? Orthodontics come in a variety of forms to suit the needs of children and adults. Modern braces can be discreet and do not draw the attention you might expect. Fixing your teeth can be made more comfortable with modern orthodontic treatments and can improve your smile and confidence.

What Are Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a treatment used to fix misaligned teeth. The orthodontic treatment is applied and maintained by a dental professional called an orthodontist. Many patients seek the help of an orthodontist to improve the appearance of crooked teeth, but the treatment can also be a part of dental hygiene. Orthodontic treatments can straighten teeth and fix bite alignments that can make the teeth and gums more difficult to clean. Fixing these issues can prevent cavities and gum disease by allowing hygienists and patients to clean their teeth properly.

Can Adults Use Orthodontic Treatment?

Many patients see an orthodontist at an early age, typically around the age of seven. If you are a teen or adult and have not seen an orthodontist, you are not alone as nearly 20% of patients are over the age of 21. Fixing alignment and bite issues in adults is just as important as in children, but many adults are reluctant to wear braces.

When adults think of braces, they are reminded of the image and social stigma of braces as a child. The thought is enough to make many adults wonder if braces are really right for them. Traditional metal braces have evolved since grade school and middle school, and there are new treatments like Invisalign that aim to address the appearance of braces. There are a variety of orthodontic treatments that can make wearing braces more enjoyable for adults and teens.

Why You Might Need Treatment?

The most common reasons to visit an orthodontist are spacing and crowding. These conditions can make it difficult to maintain healthy teeth and properly clean the teeth. Depending on your needs and the condition of your teeth, you may need self-ligating braces, or you may have more choices.

Sometimes Invisalign’s plastic aligners can address alignment issues faster than traditional braces. The treatment time can also vary depending on your condition, with some treatments lasting only a few months and others lasting 18 to 24 months. Each type of braces will require some level of maintenance and visits to your dentist and orthodontist for adjustments, cleaning, and evaluation. Some of the most common conditions that can be fixed with orthodontics are:

  • Crowding
  • Underbite
  • Overbite
  • Crossbite
  • Malocclusions
  • Spacing
  • Alignment
  • Open bite

What Varieties of Braces Are There?

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces are an option for adults looking for a more comfortable option when tightening. The braces can be metal or ceramic, and they do not use elastic to hold the archwire in place. Self-ligating braces use a clip on the metal bracket to hold the archwire, which helps reduce friction when the braces are tightened.

There are two different types of brackets used during the beginning and end stages of the treatment. First, there are active brackets that apply greater pressure to move the teeth into the correct position quickly with a thick archwire. These brackets are used toward the end of treatment. The passive bracket is more gentle and uses a thin archwire to guide the teeth with a greater range of movement.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are similar to metal braces, but they use ceramic brackets instead of metal. Ceramic braces are a great choice for adults because they are less expensive than Invisalign and the brackets can be made to match your teeth so they don’t stand out. Ceramic braces can be used like metal braces, but they are slightly less durable and may stain if you drink coffee or tea often.


Invisalign is a popular orthodontic treatment for adults because it goes unnoticed while you are wearing it. The aligner is made of comfortable and clear plastic. The orthodontist will supply you with several aligners that are form-fitting and gently move the teeth into the correct location.

Your progress is tracked and a computer-generated image can help you understand how your teeth will progressively improve. Invisalign are easy to care for because maintenance is seldom needed and you can remove them for two hours every day to eat and practice normal dental hygiene.

Find Your Treatment Today

If you are ready to straighten your teeth and improve your smile, visit Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL for an initial consultation. We offer orthodontic treatments for all ages, including adults looking for a less noticeable solution. If you are looking for orthodontic solutions such as braces in Oak Lawn or nearby communities, stop by and see how we can help you.

National Popcorn Day: Best Snack Alternatives

December 11th, 2020

January 19 is National Popcorn Day, but if you have braces, you might be missing this salty snack! Unfortunately, popcorn is an absolute no-go when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. The hulls of popcorn often get wedged into your braces, causing painful swelling of the surrounding gum tissue. Plus, the kernels of popcorn can easily break your brackets or distort your wires!

However, if you love popcorn, you’ll be happy to know that there are several great alternatives that are perfectly safe to consume with braces. If you find yourself missing popcorn during this National Popcorn Day, try one of these great, salty snack options instead:

  • Pirate’s Booty (or any other airy, cheesy puff of your choosing): Eating handfuls of this delicious treat is a very similar sensation to eating popcorn—without the danger of hulls and kernels! Pick up a bag of Pirate’s Booty at your local grocery store and snack away.
  • Soft pretzels: If you find yourself at a movie theater this winter, you might experience some extra temptation when you smell the popcorn butter. Luckily, you don’t have to skip the movie snacks entirely! If you’re looking for a braces-friendly treat at the movie theater, we recommend a tasty soft pretzel.
  • Pita bread and hummus: This is another great savory snack that is soft enough to eat with braces. Plus, the hummus packs in a protein punch!
  • Cauliflower “popcorn”: Roasted cauliflower florets are a great finger food alternative to popcorn. Try roasting a whole cauliflower with olive oil and the herbs and seasonings of your choosing for 15-20 minutes at 420 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, break off the tasty florets for a delicious snack! Flavorful, roasted cauliflower is soft enough to consume with braces, and it’s much healthier than buttery popcorn.

Even though you might have to take some time off from certain snacks while you have braces, there are plenty of equally delicious options to get you through. This National Popcorn Day, try out some creative alternatives—you might even discover a snack that you like better than popcorn!

If you’re looking for other snacking options—or if you have any other questions or concerns regarding your braces—give us a call today.

How Long Before My Invisalign Starts Showing Results?

December 11th, 2020

Do you want to straighten your teeth without obvious metal braces? Invisalign is a treatment that uses invisible aligners that are discreet and easy to care for. Invisible aligners are comfortable and can be removed for some time during the day. Contact Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL for more information on how invisible aligners can improve your smile.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a clear aligner for your teeth that is virtually invisible. The aligners can be used to treat the top and bottom teeth. The solution is comfortable and can be removed for some time while you eat or clean your teeth. It is easy to see why these invisible aligners are appealing to adults and teens. The aligners go unseen by most, and patients do not have to make significant changes to their eating habits. More than 70% of orthodontists in North America choose to offer invisible aligners to their patients.

How Long Does It Take to See Results?

Most adults treated with invisible aligners will see an improvement in their smile after only three months. The entire treatment takes 9 to 15 months on average for adults. Treatment time varies based on the condition being treated. Patients who wear the aligners as instructed and avoid removing the aligners for longer than advised will see the fastest results. Generally, we recommend patients wear their aligners at least 22 hours per day. This provides ample time to eat, drink, and clean the teeth without worry.

Invisalign can treat some issues faster than traditional metal braces. Small gaps in between the teeth can be resolved in as little as 8 weeks with invisible aligners. Crowding can take 6 months to correct, and more severe crowding may take longer. Traditional braces generally take 24 months to treat what invisible aligners treat in 12 months.

How Frequently Will I Need to See the Dentist?

Invisalign patients enjoy fast treatment time. They also require less maintenance and have the ability to remove their aligners. Traditional braces need to be tightened every two to three weeks, which can be a stressful experience for wearers. With invisible aligners, there is no tightening, but a new pair is created every two weeks to gradually align the teeth.

Office visits may be more frequent, but the visits are much less stressful. Patients will experience a reduced chance of equipment failure because a new pair of aligners are created every two weeks. Traditional braces patients may experience broken wires and brackets throughout the treatment.

What Are the Benefits?

The greatest benefit to adults and teens is that invisible aligners will not be seen. Invisible aligner patients do not have to worry about awkward stares that patients with metal braces experience. Patients can look as if they are not wearing braces while they enjoy quick and discreet treatment. Invisible aligners require less maintenance, no tightening, and can be removed.

Patients can remove their aligners to eat and drink. This makes it easier to maintain healthy eating habits with minor changes to the patient’s diet. Patients can also maintain oral hygiene with typical brushing and flossing habits. Dentists recommend brushing and flossing at least twice a day to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Patients can continue sports and playing musical instruments without significant changes to their routine.

What Are the Advantages Over Traditional Braces?

Traditional braces come in a variety of materials and colors to stand out less, but invisible aligners are far less visible. Invisible aligners are made of flexible plastic that makes them more comfortable. They also don’t have to be worn 24 hours a day, allowing for more enjoyable eating and cleaning. Patients can enjoy treatment in only half the time with invisible aligners. They are also not prone to breaking like metal guide wires or brackets.

While wearing invisible aligners, special care and changes to everyday routines are minor since the aligners are removable. With traditional braces, patients may have to change their routine, diet, and activities to accommodate the treatment. Invisible aligners are made from 3D image software. Patients of invisible aligners will see a computer-generated image of the expected results.

What Can Invisalign Correct?

Invisalign is used to treat a variety of dental conditions quickly and discreetly. Some more severe cases may require self-ligating braces or a retainer after invisible aligners are removed. The best option will vary based on condition and patient, and sometimes traditional braces will be recommended over invisible aligners. Patients should also have healthy teeth and gums without disease or cavities before using invisible aligners. Previous work, such as bridges may prevent the use of invisible aligners.

The following conditions can be treated with invisible aligners:

  • Gaps in teeth
  • Underbite
  • Overbite
  • Crossbite
  • Crowded teeth
  • Crooked teeth

Who Is an Ideal Patient?

Patients looking to use invisible aligners should have a condition that is treatable with aligners. Invisible aligners can also help patients looking to straighten the overall appearance of their teeth. Some factors that may prevent the use of invisible aligners are previous dental work, poor dental health, the shape of the teeth, and teeth that are rotated or severely misaligned. Patients range in age, and invisible aligners can be used for children with baby teeth and permanent teeth. Many patients will choose invisible aligners as a discreet and ideal solution in their teen and adult years.

Improve Your Smile Today

If you think Invisalign looks like the perfect solution for you and you’re interested in braces Oak Lawn, visit Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL for a consultation today. Experience an improved smile with quick and discreet invisible aligners.

New Year’s Resolutions for Healthy Teeth

December 11th, 2020

Happy New Year from our team here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics! We can hardly believe it’s 2020. A new year means a fresh start, and the perfect opportunity to revamp your oral hygiene routine. Cleaning your teeth should always be a top priority, but it’s particularly important if you have braces. Here are some simple New Year’s resolution suggestions to help you achieve a healthy and happy mouth in 2020:

  1. After every meal, brush your teeth. If you have braces, it’s incredibly important that you’re working hard to keep those teeth clean and healthy. The wires and brackets of your braces tend to trap food debris, and, if these food particles are not washed away, it can cause plaque to develop on the teeth. This will result in cavities and can even discolor your teeth. We strongly suggest that you brush your teeth at the end of every meal. Not only will it keep your breath fresh, but it will also keep your braces and teeth pristine and healthy.
  2. Remember to hydrate. Water is one of the simplest ways to keep your mouth clean and body healthy. Water helps to irrigate the mouth, rinsing away food debris. Invest in a water bottle this year and commit to making 2020 the year of hydration.
  3. Follow our instructions. If your orthodontist has asked you to wear a particular kind of headgear, rubber bands, or retainer—please listen! If we ask you to do something, it’s because it’s vital for your orthodontic treatment. We want you to complete your treatment in a timely fashion, and we’re sure that you do, too. It is important to follow instructions if you want 2020 to be the year that you get your braces off!
  4. If you play sports, get a mouthguard. Any time you’re at practice or playing a game, you should be wearing a mouthguard. If you have braces, you’re at an increased risk for experiencing a mouth injury (the abrasive edges of your brackets and wires can cut your inner mouth severely upon impact). A mouthguard is a simple solution that can save you from a lot of dental pain!
  5. Commit to smart retainer habits. If you have your braces off, make 2020 the year that you practice good retainer habits. That means wearing your retainer each and every night. If you don’t, you risk your teeth shifting back into their original positioning. Don’t waste the hard work and time you’ve invested in your orthodontic treatment—2020 should be a year of progress!

Keep your teeth and braces clean and healthy this year by committing to these simple resolutions. And, for more personalized braces care information, call our office.

Braces-Friendly Holiday Treats

December 11th, 2020

Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we want to wish you a happy holiday! During your break, we hope you have some time to relax and enjoy friends and family—and of course, we hope you get to indulge in some delicious holiday food.

You might be nervous about being surrounded by sticky, chewy goodies that could harm your braces. But don’t worry! Despite these temptations, there are plenty of tasty treats that will be perfectly safe for your braces. Here are some examples of holiday goodies with our orthodontists’ seal of approval:

– Soft sugar cookies

Sugar cookies are holiday classics that are braces friendly! Just be sure that both the cookie and its frosting are soft. Skip any options with hard sprinkle gems, candy toppings, and nuts.

– Dinner rolls

A warm roll with butter—what could be better? When you’re examining the holiday dinner table for a braces-friendly option, rolls are a great choice. Since they’re soft and easily chewable, they’re unlikely to cause damage to your orthodontic appliances.

– Potato pancakes (latkes)

This traditional holiday fare is soft, gentle on the mouth, and oh-so tasty!

– Holiday cheese balls and logs

Did you know that cheese is great for your teeth? It helps balance out the pH levels of your mouth, which reduces your risk of cavities. Cheese is also packed with phosphates and calcium, so it’s great for your teeth and bones! As long as you steer clear of any nuts, holiday cheese balls are a great option when you have braces.

– Soft pies

Apple, pumpkin, cherry, and chocolate pies are a safe dessert option when you have braces, especially if you only eat the fillings and skip the crust!

– Pudding

You might not be able to indulge in sticky toffee this year, but you’re free to eat toffee-flavored pudding! Since pudding is soft and doesn’t require chewing, it’s safe for your brackets and wires.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to safely indulge at the dinner table. So, don’t let braces stop you from enjoying your holiday season! Just remember to brush and floss after your holiday meal to wash away food leftovers. If you have any questions, feel free to get in contact with our team here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. From all of us, we wish you a happy holiday season!

Quick Fixes for Orthodontic Mishaps Over the Holidays

December 11th, 2020

The holiday season can pose a challenge if you have braces. It can be especially hard to follow your orthodontic dietary guidelines when you’re surrounded by tasty temptations at the holiday dinner table. If you do happen to slip up and damage your braces, there’s no need to panic. Just schedule an appointment with our orthodontists as soon as possible! In the meantime, follow these tips to repair the most common problems we see here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics:

– Broken brackets

It’s easy to break a bracket—especially if you eat hard or chewy holiday foods. When a broken bracket is causing discomfort, try applying orthodontic wax to the rough edges of the appliance. You could also remove the bracket from the wire as long as you make sure to keep track of the bracket and bring it in during your next orthodontic appointment.

– Poking wires

When your teeth are moving, it’s perfectly normal for wires to shift. This is a sign that your braces are doing their job! If wires are causing you pain and you can’t make it to our office to get them clipped, use orthodontic wax. Placing wax over the end that is poking you should relieve your discomfort. But, if this doesn’t work, wires can also be cautiously clipped with a pair of nail clippers and covered with orthodontic wax until you can come by the office.

– Wire out of place

When you eat sticky or crunchy foods, wires can pop out of the back brackets of your braces. First, use your fingers or tweezers to try to slip the wire back into the bracket hole. If that doesn’t work, you can also apply orthodontic wax or clip the wire. If you decide to clip the wire, make sure to schedule an appointment to get it repaired as soon as possible!

– Lost aligner tray

If you wear a clear aligner, like Invisalign®, be extra cautious with your aligners over the holidays! When you get out of your normal routine, it’s easy to misplace a tray. If you’re leaving town, you should bring your case with you at all times and put your aligners in the case whenever you take them out to eat or drink. However, if you accidentally lose an aligner, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t try to skip ahead—trying to move the teeth too quickly can cause more pain. Simply put in your previous tray and call us so we can order you a new set.

Never let orthodontic discomfort get in the way of your holiday fun! If you follow these simple tips, you should be able to minimize any discomfort until you can come in for an appointment. Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we want to wish you and your braces a safe and happy holiday season!

Do I Need an Emergency Orthodontist?

December 11th, 2020

Accidents happen, and knowing your orthodontic treatment options is the best way to proceed with confidence when they occur. Although there are many quick-fixes for the most common issues with braces, having access to an emergency orthodontist is the only guaranteed way to ensure your treatment plan remains on schedule. At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL, we are here for you during an orthodontic emergency.

Do I Need an Emergency Orthodontist?

Although serious orthodontic emergencies rarely happen, it’s essential to have access to an emergency orthodontist if they do. In an emergency with your braces, we are available to help you. When you choose Petty & Bielik Orthodontics for your braces in Oak Lawn, you receive comprehensive and emergency orthodontic treatment in one place.

There are several ways you can mitigate the discomfort of your misshapen appliance at home, but please call us if you experience any unexpected pain. Even if you can temporarily fix the issue, please contact us so we may repair the problem correctly. Wearing damaged appliances may cause your teeth to shift and disrupt your treatment schedule.

What Can I Do Before My Emergency Orthodontic Appointment?

Depending on when your orthodontic emergency happens, you might have to wait several days before your appointment. During this time, it’s crucial to follow a few steps to care for your mouth and preserve your appliance.

Loose, Fallen or Removed Pieces

Save any part of your orthodontic appliance that leaves your mouth. Please bring it to your next appointment. You can place these pieces in an envelope or plastic bag for safekeeping.


General mouth soreness is expected for the first three to five days after getting braces. Teeth may feel sore, and you may feel pressure when biting or chewing. Eat a soft diet until the initial pressure subsides to minimize the feeling.

Tender Lips, Cheeks, or Tongue

Lips, cheeks, and the tongue may feel tender for up to two weeks after getting braces. Gums may feel sensitive or irritated, and you may have sore spots in other parts of the mouth. You have several options for easing this discomfort.

Mix a solution of one teaspoon of salt with eight ounces of warm water until the salt dissolves. Swish this solution in your mouth vigorously for a minute or more to ease your symptoms. Alternatively, you may also use Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist.

Applying Orabase (benzocaine) to the affected area brings relief for many patients. Orabase is available over-the-counter at a pharmacy. In severe cases, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed. You may take aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) sparsely. For faster treatment, avoid taking these pain relievers regularly because they slow tooth movement.


Not wearing your prescribed headgear as instructed by your orthodontist may cause discomfort. Headgear becomes more comfortable the more you wear it; be sure to use it as directed. If the metal facebow is bent, please call us for an appointment to fix the issue.

Appliance Poking

A loose appliance can cause irritating and unwanted poking in the mouth. To prevent this, apply wax to the problematic piece. We will show you how to apply wax to your braces for this and other uses. If a wire is poking outward, use a pencil eraser to press the wire down or cover it with wax.

Loose or Fallen Bracket

When the bracket is still attached to the wire, please leave it in place. You may secure it with wax for comfort. If the bracket or band has fallen, please save it to bring it to your next appointment.

Loose Wire

If a wire has slid to the side, you can carefully glide it back with tweezers or needle-nose pliers and refit the tube onto the back tooth. You may need to use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place. To do this, tie the floss around the bracket to replace the missing colored o-ring.

If you cannot shift the wire into a comfortable position, try to cover the end with wax. As a last resort, you may use small fingernail clippers to sever the wire slightly behind the last tooth where it is fastened securely.

Lost Aligner Tray

Misplacing or damaging your clear aligner tray can happen. The most effective way to prevent lost aligners is to make a habit of always placing them in their case when not in your mouth. If you have misplaced your aligner, do not move to the next aligner tray. Skipping ahead may seem like the logical solution, but it can cause your teeth to move too quickly and result in unnecessary discomfort. Instead, wear your previous tray until we can replace the missing tray.

What If I Forgot How to Use Orthodontic Wax?

Dr. Petty and Dr. Bielik are happy to show you how to apply orthodontic wax during your appointment. Don’t worry if you are in an emergency and do not remember how to use the wax. Applying the wax is simple.

Wash your hands and mouth thoroughly before applying the wax. Identify any irritated areas by looking for redness, abrasions, or sore spots. Look for a wire or bracket in a corresponding location that is causing the discomfort. Dry this part of the appliance with a tissue or clean cloth. Quickly roll the wax into a small ball to soften it. Using your fingertip, firmly press the wax over the wire or bracket that’s causing discomfort.

Contact Us for Emergency Orthodontic Care

Do not let an emergency with your braces extend your treatment times. Using the services from an emergency orthodontist keeps your appliances functioning correctly to maintain your braces timeline. If you’ve experienced an orthodontic emergency, contact us today at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL to schedule an appointment.

Delicious and Braces-Friendly Thanksgiving Recommendations

December 11th, 2020

Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving! We hope you will have the opportunity to enjoy some quality time with your friends and family, and also eat some delicious food! If your child has braces, you might be worried about prepping a meal that will be safe for them to consume. Luckily, with plenty of delicious braces-friendly foods, you won’t have to leave anyone out of the Thanksgiving Day feast. Here are some safe-to-eat holiday classics recommended by Dr. Petty and Dr. Bielik:

Sweet potato casserole

Everyone loves this classic holiday dish smothered with brown sugar, or perhaps even marshmallows! Because it’s so soft, this casserole is perfectly safe to consume with braces. Feel free to let your child indulge in this sweet treat—just make sure they brush and floss afterward.

Mac and cheese

Another delicious and soft food, mac and cheese is a great addition to your braces-friendly Thanksgiving feast.


A holiday classic, stuffing is great for a child with braces. Just be sure to leave out any walnuts or pecans this year. Biting into one of those crunchy nuts could damage your child’s brackets or wires.

Turkey and ham

As long as turkey and ham are removed from the bone and cut into small, bite-sized pieces, these tender and juicy meats should be perfectly fine to consume with braces.

Mashed potatoes

Another indulgent Thanksgiving dish, soft and delicious mashed potatoes won’t cause any damage to your child’s orthodontic appliances. So, bring on the gravy!

Pie filling

Just because your child has braces doesn’t mean they’ll have to miss out on everyone’s favorite part of Thanksgiving—dessert! Although they’re better off avoiding the crispy crusts, they can still enjoy the sweet filling of pumpkin pie.

As with any meal, it’s important that your child brushes and flosses after finishing up at the Thanksgiving table. If you’re going to be eating at a friend or relative’s house, remind them to pack a travel toothbrush. No one wants to have leftovers caught in their brackets and wires!

If you have any questions or concerns about cooking for the upcoming holiday, give our office a call. And from all of us here, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

Braces and TMJ Disorder

December 11th, 2020

Did you know that November is TMJ Awareness Month? Although TMJ disorder affects millions—especially women between the ages of 25 and 55—it is often overlooked or misdiagnosed. This TMJ Awareness Month, learn more about this common medical issue and discover how orthodontic treatment can help alleviate your TMJ pain.

So, what is TMJ disorder?

The abbreviation TMJ is short for the temporomandibular joint, where the jaw bone attaches to your skull. Usually, this joint helps your jaw slide and move smoothly. However, when you have a TMJ disorder, it means that the cartilage has become misaligned, inflamed, or has undue pressure placed on it.

The symptoms

The most common symptoms of TMJ are often confused for other medical issues, which can make it difficult to receive a proper diagnosis. Symptoms that may point to TMJ disorder include:

  • Sinus or tension headaches
  • Migraines
  • Stiffness in neck and shoulder area
  • Earaches
  • Jaw locking or clicking
  • Sensitivity and/or pain of the jaw
  • A difficult time chewing

What causes TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorders can be caused by a variety of things. Sometimes, it’s the result of arthritis, stress, an injury to the jaw area, or a misaligned bite issue. To treat TMJ-related pain, your dentist, doctor, or orthodontist will first try to pinpoint any underlying causes.

How orthodontics relieve TMJ disorder 

When your TMJ disorder is related to a crossbite, overbite, or underbite, orthodontic treatment can be a solution to your pain. Although pain relief usually doesn’t come to mind when people think of orthodontics, the alignment of your teeth and jaw is vital for your health. Misaligned teeth or a bad bite can lead to bruxism as well as grinding and clenching, all of which place pressure on your jaw. In turn, this pressure can lead to chronic TMJ pain. Often, TMJ disorders are multifactorial.

By using braces or clear aligners, we can correct the alignment of your teeth and jaw. And, by doing so, we eliminate one of the underlying causes of your TMJ disorder. Through orthodontic treatment, we can fix your bite issues permanently while simultaneously improving the appearance of your smile!

If you are among the millions of people suffering from TMJ pain, book an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. We look forward to evaluating your unique oral health profile and creating a treatment plan that targets your needs.

Do Self-Ligating Braces Need Tightening?

December 11th, 2020

Do you want a better smile? Maybe you are dealing with misaligned teeth that make you hide your smile. If you are looking for braces in Oak Lawn, Petty & Bielik Orthodontics have some of the best solutions in the Oak Lawn area. We offer self-ligating braces and invisible solutions that will give you straighter teeth with fewer appointments. There are many reasons why more patients choose self-ligating solutions over traditional braces.

What Are Self-Ligating Braces?

Self-ligating braces use a small clip to guide the archwire rather than the elastic bands used in traditional braces. A common misconception is that the bracket creates tension on the teeth. Rather, the wire creates tension that gently moves the teeth into the correct placement. With self-ligating solutions, the brackets are low friction and require little maintenance.

The brackets of the braces come in passive and active forms and are available from a variety of brands. They can also be made from different materials. There are even transparent options that are less visible. Self-ligating solutions are popular because they offer ease and comfort compared to traditional braces.

Who Can Wear Self-Ligating Braces?

Self-ligating braces are a common choice among adults due to their reduced size. The braces can be a good option over traditional braces due to the greater comfort they offer and easier treatment for most patients. There are several types of braces, but self-ligating types are the best choice for many patients.

Advantages Over Other Braces

Traditional braces require elastic bands to hold the wires in place, which can be lost and require frequent maintenance. Braces with self-ligating brackets do not have the same risk of loss because they don’t use elastic bands.

You will also enjoy fewer appointments while wearing the braces and a greater amount of comfort because the braces require less tension. The reduced tension causes less friction while your teeth move gently into alignment. Choosing the self-ligating type of braces makes for a more pleasant experience and a shorter amount of time wearing the braces.

When Should I Get Braces?

It is recommended that everyone visit the orthodontist around the age of seven, but there is no age restriction for undergoing orthodontic treatment. As many as 20% of patients visit the orthodontist after the age of 21. We recommend treatment for children and adults, but many adults and teens prefer a more discreet solution than children. Self-ligating or invisible braces are common treatments for adults and teens.

Do They Need Tightening?

The braces still require tightening to gently guide the teeth into alignment, but patients will enjoy greater freedom of movement and less friction with this choice. Traditional braces require a greater number of appointments due to the elastic bands. Those with self-ligating style braces should still visit the office for tightening and progress updates based on their orthodontist’s recommendation.

Are They Comfortable?

These braces tend to be more comfortable than other types of braces due to the reduced friction. Braces using elastic bands to hold the wire tend to have less freedom of movement and cause more friction. Self-ligating brackets offer greater freedom of movement, resulting in faster and more comfortable treatment. Patients will also enjoy fewer visits for maintenance

Will I Need to Change My Lifestyle?

Most patients with braces will need to make minimal changes to their lifestyle. Patients will have to visit the orthodontist for check-ups on their progress. Keeping your teeth and gums clean should also be prioritized for orthodontic patients, to prevent infection.

One great benefit for patients with self-ligating solutions is that they tend to have a lower risk of bacterial infection. Brushing three times per day, flossing, and using a fluoride mouthwash may be recommended for those wearing braces.

Patients should avoid sugar that can increase bacteria and plaque. Patients should avoid hard or chewy foods such as taffy, nuts, and bagels. If you participate in a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouth guard to protect the braces. Those who play instruments or participate in sports will not need to make significant changes.

What Is the Difference Between Passive and Active Brackets?

Passive brackets are commonly used during the first stages of treatment. These brackets produce gentle movement over time and allow a great range of movement. Active brackets produce significant results with greater pressure and movement. The archwire used in these brackets is thicker and used to move the teeth into place quickly. Both types of brackets can be used in self-ligating orthodontics based on a specialist’s recommendation.

What Brands Are Available?

Self-ligating brackets come in a variety of styles, such as ceramic, metal, and transparent. The top brands have their own advantages in technology and material. At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we use SureSmile, Damon Smile, and In-Ovation braces. SureSmile braces are quick and comfortable, using digital and self-ligating technology to provide straight teeth. Damon Smile is known for its comfort and efficiency, and it is a popular low friction choice. In-Ovation provides fast results with fewer appointments.

Learn More

If you have teeth that could be straighter, call for a consultation from Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL. We offer a variety of treatments that are easy to use and take less time to treat your teeth than traditional options. Find out if self-ligating orthodontics are the right choice for you today.

Easy Ways to Keep Your Teeth Clean

December 11th, 2020

October is National Dental Hygiene Month! Did you know that your oral hygiene routine is especially important when you have braces? If your mouth is full of brackets and wires, it might seem extra tricky to clean your teeth, but if you want to avoid tooth decay and discoloration, your oral hygiene is of the utmost importance!

Food debris becomes trapped in the teeth more easily when you have braces due to the wires and brackets. In turn, this can result in an accumulation of bacteria, which causes plaque to form on the surface of your teeth. If you do not clean your teeth properly to remove this leftover food, it can lead to tooth decay and even stained teeth. You certainly don’t want discolored teeth to ruin your new, straight smile! To prevent this, try to follow these simple oral hygiene tips:

  1. Select the right dental tools

Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we recommend that you brush your teeth with a soft-bristled brush and a fluoride toothpaste. Also, you should be checking the head of your toothbrush regularly to look for signs of wear and tear. When you have braces, your abrasive brackets and wires can wear out your toothbrush more rapidly, and a worn-out toothbrush isn’t as effective at cleaning your teeth.

  1. Spend some time on your teeth

During your orthodontic treatment, you need to be brushing at least two minutes twice daily, and, ideally, more than that! If it’s possible, you should brush any time you complete a meal to rinse away leftover food debris. When you’re brushing, take your time, and make sure to brush every single tooth above and below each of your brackets. When you go slowly, you’ll be more likely to cover the majority of the tooth’s surface, preventing the accumulation of harmful plaque.

  1. Floss your teeth

Flossing isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a requirement. It’s one of the most vital things you can do to ensure a healthy and clean mouth. To make flossing easier when you have braces, we recommend purchasing a floss threader.

  1. Rinse!

If you can’t brush your teeth after every meal, we recommend rinsing your mouth out with water. This helps to wash away leftover food that has become caught in your braces and teeth. We also recommend using a mouthwash—it kills the harmful bacteria that gets trapped in those hard to reach places in the mouth!

  1. Eat healthily

When you have braces, it’s especially important to steer clear of foods and beverages that are harmful to the teeth. We especially recommend avoiding pop—the combo of high sugar and acid content is terrible for your oral hygiene (and body)!

Make sure to follow these easy tips to keep up a healthy mouth this National Dental Hygiene Month. If you’d like to follow up with any questions about your oral health, get in touch with us at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics.

What Is the Best Age to Get a Palatal Expander?

December 11th, 2020

Did you know about 3.5 million children and teenagers start orthodontic treatments each year? Braces are the most common form of orthodontics, but there are many other treatments that are used to correct the alignment of teeth. When you get braces in Oak Lawn, Illinois at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we advise the use of a palatal expander. What is this treatment all about? At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL, we’re happy to answer all of your most important questions before you visit our office!

What Is a Palatal Expander?

A palatal expander is a device that is used to expand the width of the palate, or the upper jaw. Usually this device is used in early orthodontic work as part of a plan to prepare for a full alignment of the teeth. Expanders are typically used before braces are installed, especially for children. You can think of these devices as the first step to the realignment of permanent teeth.

There is an orthodontic device that we put in the roof of your mouth that pushes your jaw further apart! Don’t worry, though – this expander is a gentle treatment that produces life-long results.

Why Is a Palatal Expander Used?

Why is there a need to expand the roof of the mouth? That’s a good question! Generally speaking, misaligned teeth are caused by overcrowding. We might use braces to fix crooked teeth, but braces cannot fix overcrowding. The solution is then to create room in the mouth for teeth to grow and be aligned. When we use devices like this expander, we can create room in the upper jaw that will allow braces to make the most effective improvements.

Crossbites: What Are They?

When we examine your mouth and come up with a plan to fix the alignment of your teeth, you might hear a few unfamiliar terms. The most important one that relates directly to expanders is the word crossbite. Crossbite refers to how the molars – or the bite – of your jaws do not match up.

Usually crossbites happen when the upper jaw is more narrow than the lower jaw. While some people find that living with smaller crossbites is perfectly comfortable, there are times when more extreme crossbites make it difficult to chew food. Fixing a crossbite will allow for better chewing, make room for permanent teeth to continue to grow, and ultimately help perfect your smile.

Crossbites: What Causes Them?

The cause of crossbites has been a subject for research. After all, not everyone is born with a crossbite! Several research studies indicate that crossbites are usually caused by genetics. Like many other things in your personal health, the state of your mouth is also often the result of a heredity lottery. Another cause for crossbites might be delayed tooth growth or teeth that have grown in abnormally.

What Is the Best Age to Get a Palatal Expander?

Expanders can be something of an undertaking, since adjusting them needs to be done by another person and they have to remain in the mouth for several months. But is there an age where expanding the roof of the mouth is most effective?

It is generally recommended that these devices be used before permanent adult teeth have finished growing in, which means that the best age to use one is between the ages 5 and 16. Most orthodontists use expanding devices after adult molars have grown in but before the other adult teeth in the upper jaw have finished growing.

How To Use

Using this device is gentle, effective, and very easy. After installation, your dentist will give you specific instructions as to how often to use the device. Here we will break down the basic steps to give you an idea of how this device works. It is important to note that adjusting this device can either be done at home or at the dental office, depending on the age of the child and the amount of adjustment that needs to be done.

Step 1: The Position

It is easiest to use this device while laying down flat with the head tilted back, just like at the dental office. A quick way to achieve the ideal position is to lay back on a bed with your head tilted back over the edge so that the crown of your head is facing the floor. Be sure to have good lighting and to keep the mouth open but relaxed.

Step 2: The Key

Every device comes with a key that helps turn the fender that allows the arms of the device to expand. The key is a short metal rod that fits into the holes of the fender in the expander. To adjust the expander, place the key into the hole and push the key toward the back of the mouth so that the holes are going toward the back of the throat.

Remove the key once the next hole is visible, or after you have completed the correct amount of turns. Your orthodontist will tell you how many turns to make each time you expand the device if you are performing the task at home.

Step 3: The Time

Most of the expansion of the palate is done over the course of six weeks or more. After the expansion of the upper jaw has reached the ideal width, an expander will remain in the mouth for 4 to 6 months so that the upper jaw can stabilize. After that time, your orthodontist will remove the expander and continue your treatment plan.

Learn More or Get Started!

Now that you know everything there is to know about palatal expanders, contact the experts at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL to schedule your initial consultation today!

FAQs About Orthodontic Treatments

December 11th, 2020

Orthodontic treatments will improve dental health as they improve a person’s looks. Getting ready to start an orthodontic treatment can raise some questions. During a consultation, our team can answer any questions you may have about your upcoming or ongoing treatment process.

Getting nervous about getting started is natural. However, our staff is dedicated to ensuring your comfort throughout the treatment. The following are answers to some frequently asked questions about orthodontic treatments. It will help you in preparing for your path to a more healthy and confident smile.

  1. What is Orthodontics?

It’s a branch of dentistry which specifically focuses on the correction of teeth and jaw inequalities. Also, it helps in improving the function of your teeth and jaw. Teeth that are not well aligned or crooked teeth can pose various risks like tooth decay and periodontal diseases. It may add extra stress on the chewing muscles, leading to TMJ syndrome, headaches and shoulder, back and neck pain.

Orthodontic treatments typically involve fitting of an orthodontic appliance to help your teeth get aligned. The result is a more pleasing appearance, a healthier mouth and teeth that may last a lifetime. It’s also known as dentofacial orthopedics since it’s a treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.

  1. Is an Orthodontist the Same as a Dentist?

An orthodontist is a specialized dentist who has focused on extensive dentofacial studies. The person has about two to three more years of training and experience. An orthodontist is not only an expert in straightening your teeth but also in choosing the best treatment option for you. Although a dentist can provide braces and other options, more complex orthodontic cases will require a specialist.

  1. How Do Orthodontic Treatments Work?

Orthodontic treatments involve different kinds of appliances. The orthodontic appliances can either be fixed or removable, but the functions are the same. They help move teeth, affect the growth of the jaws and retrain muscles. They work by placing moderate pressure on the jaws and teeth. Every orthodontic approach is determined by the severity of the patient’s problem and other factors.

  1. How Long Does the Treatment Take?

The treatment time depends on an individual’s specific orthodontic needs. It all varies based on the patient’s treatment complexity, personal treatment goals and needs.

  1. Am I a Candidate?

Our orthodontists in Oak Lawn will help you determine whether you need orthodontic treatments like braces. Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, patients are assured of professional and personalized orthodontic treatments every time. Contact us today to book an appointment at our office in Oak Lawn. We look forward to hearing from you!

Why Mouthguards are So Important

December 11th, 2020

Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we love that many of our patients participate in athletics! Team sports are a great way to build a community, have fun, and stay active. However, it’s important to make sure your child takes some precautions to protect their body and mouth whenever they hit the field.

Did you know that a child is at an increased risk of mouth injury when they have braces? Orthodontic treatment should never hold a child back from a physical activity they enjoy! Instead, we strongly encourage our patients to gear up in protective wear to ensure that they don’t suffer a painful dental injury.

Since September is National Childhood Injury Prevention Month, we thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to emphasize the importance of proper protective mouth gear! Every athlete—whether or not they have braces—should be wearing a mouthguard whenever they play their sport. This means wearing a mouthguard at every practice as well as during the big game. These soft, flexible plastic covers are designed to fit easily over your child’s braces, teeth, and gums to protect them from an injury to the mouth.

Why are mouthguards so important? 

These simple pieces of gear offer ample protection for your child’s mouth, braces, and teeth. If your child experiences impact to the face or mouth, it can easily bend a wire out of its proper position or knock a bracket off of a tooth. Additionally, the abrasive edges of your child’s braces can cause severe damage to the mouth, cutting the inner cheeks, lips, and tongue. This heightened risk should not be taken lightly; we never want a child to be hurt by their braces.

Mouthguards also protect the teeth. According to a statistic from the National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, an athlete is more than 60 times more likely to damage their teeth if they neglect to wear a mouthguard.

This inexpensive piece of protective gear can easily save your child from a whole lot of pain down the road. In fact, the American Dental Association estimates that protective mouth gear prevents 200,000 dental injuries each year. However, the American Association of Orthodontics estimates that around 80 percent of young athletes don’t wear mouthguards regularly since they aren’t typically required.

Just because your referee doesn’t require a mouthguard doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary! Call our office today to discuss getting a mouthguard for your child.

What are the Different Types of Braces for Kids?

December 11th, 2020

If you’re noticing that your kid’s teeth are looking crooked and you think they might need braces, you’ve probably got questions. Are they the right age? Are they going to hurt? How long will they need braces? What are the different types of braces for kids? Many of these questions are best left to the professionals. But before you make an appointment, it’s a good idea to know your options.

Every child is different, and that’s why orthodontic realignments are specialized according to each child’s needs. Some kids might need to have an overbite, or an underbite, corrected. Others need crooked teeth glided into alignment.

Whatever the issue, the good news is that everyone has more options. There are many different types of braces for kids that weren’t available to older generations who probably don’t look back on their years of wearing braces too fondly. Times have changed!

Different Types of Braces for Different Purposes

There is a range of braces that you and your child can choose from together. Braces with metal brackets, which we all remember, are still around. But they’ve been improved in recent years. Now, not only are they more discreet, but they also use innovative technology to move the teeth into the proper position.

Metal braces are visible. To help with this, ceramics can be placed over the teeth instead of metal brackets. This allows the braces to blend in with the child’s natural teeth, so they’re less noticeable. While the ceramic comes in a polished white, your child will need to brush diligently to keep them that way.

Consider Your Childs Needs

Some options like traditional bracket braces require elastic bands. This often means more frequent visits to the orthodontist so they can be readjusted. There are many different types of braces for kids, but many options require regular visits to the orthodontist.

If cutting down on the number of visits is your priority, then you might consider self-ligating braces. No elastics are needed, and they usually go to work more quickly than bracket braces.

If you’re ready to talk about your options with a professional who can tell you all you need to know about the benefits of different types of braces for your kids, you can make an appointment with the orthodontist and team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, located in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and get started.

Should You Bring Your Retainer to College?

December 11th, 2020

If you are planning to move to college this fall, you may be feeling excited, nervous, and eager to begin the semester. However, before school starts, you still need to pack! It can be daunting to start buying everything you need on your college packing checklist—and more importantly, deciding which items to leave behind. However, if you find yourself debating whether you should bring your old retainer to school, our orthodontists urge you to take care of your smile. For healthy, aligned teeth, you will certainly need to bring your retainer with you!

In fact, whether you’re at home, at college, or a recent graduate, we recommend wearing your retainer forever.

Why should you wear your retainer?

Fibers and ligaments keep your teeth anchored in place. But, during orthodontic treatment, braces loosen these fibrous linkages as your teeth are pushed into their aligned position. After your treatment is complete, however, teeth can rapidly shift back, moving into their original position. By wearing a retainer nightly, you can prevent teeth from shifting and keep your smile properly aligned.

If you skip wearing your retainer nightly, your months or years of orthodontic treatment can be undone. Protect your investment and your health—wear your retainer!

How quickly can teeth shift without a retainer?

It only takes a matter of days for teeth to shift. You won’t be able to maintain your smile by only wearing your retainer when you visit home during the holidays.

Luckily, it’s not a problem if you accidentally miss a day or two during the back-to-school rush—just don’t make that a habit. Your teeth will likely move back into their proper position if you haven’t skipped wearing your retainer for more than a week.

But if your retainer no longer fits, make an appointment to visit Dr. Petty or Dr. Bielik as soon as possible! Waiting for your teeth to shift even further is the worst thing you can do for your smile. And, if you haven’t been wearing your retainer, be sure to make an appointment to come in before you head off to school this fall.

As you pack for college in the upcoming weeks, be sure to include your retainer—and all the necessary supplies to keep your retainer clean! It may seem “dorky,” but there’s nothing cooler than a straight smile!

Invisalign in Oak Lawn: What You Might Not Know

December 11th, 2020

An orthodontist in Oak Lawn may tell you that Invisalign® aligners are the best way for you to have straighter teeth. You may not know a lot about aligners, but you should learn more about these devices so that you can have the best outcome from your orthodontic treatment. Clear plastic aligners are appropriate for many types of dental malocclusions, so if you have mild to moderate misalignments, then ask our orthodontists if you can wear these devices instead of using braces to straighten your teeth.

Adults and teenagers can wear aligners to have straighter teeth, but the devices are not recommended for children. While braces have wires that can break or brackets that can dislodge from the teeth, aligners don’t have these problems. Aligners are made from a durable but clear plastic that rarely degrades during the two week treatment time for each set. If you do have a problem with the plastic aligners degrading, then our orthodontists will determine if you have a bite abnormality or if you grind your teeth. You will receive as many as 30 sets of aligners, so if one of the devices develops a hole, then you can switch to the next set in the series.

You Will Receive Multiple Sets of Aligners to Straighten Your Teeth

Invisalign® aligners in Oak Lawn are made using the molds of your mouth along with your facial X-rays. You should have healthy teeth without any cavities along with having no gum disease. If you do have these issues, then our orthodontists can provide treatment for the problems. A computer program will analyze your medical images and molds to make the aligners.

Every two to three weeks, you will switch to a new set of aligners, but you must wear each set for the majority of the day and night. You can remove the aligners while you chew food and drink beverages. We also recommend brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day along with sanitizing the aligners. Make sure to use toothpaste, floss and mouth rinses that are recommended by our orthodontists to avoid staining your aligners.

Select the Original Type of Clear Plastic Aligners for Your Teeth

When you choose Invisalign® treatment, you are selecting the original type of clear plastic aligners that were invented during the 1990s. This type of aligner has been worn by thousands of patients who have crowded teeth. After you receive your first set of aligners, our orthodontists will teach you how to insert and remove the devices carefully.

You will likely feel pressure on your teeth and gums, but you can take pain relievers or use dental wax to reduce your discomfort. To learn more about wearing Invisalign® aligners, get in touch with our team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!

5 Things to Pack for Vacation with Braces

December 11th, 2020

It’s summer, which means vacation season is underway! However, if you have braces, there are several important things you should bring with you to keep your teeth healthy and your braces safe. We’ve compiled our orthodontists’ top suggestions so you can check off all the essentials—before you leave on your vacation!

  1. Floss or interdental brushes

Flossing is the only way to remove plaque from between your teeth and prevent tartar from forming. To remove hard-to-reach pieces of food stuck in your braces, interdental brushes may be helpful tools as well. Though it may be tempting to forgo flossing during your vacation, it’s crucial for your dental health, so be sure to bring along floss to keep your smile healthy.

  1. Water bottle

Swishing with water or drinking water right after a meal is wonderful for your teeth—especially if you can’t always brush right after meals during your vacation. The simple act of drinking water can help loosen trapped food particles, provide a fluoride boost, and help you rinse away some bacteria in your mouth.

  1. Travel toothbrush or Colgate® Wisp® disposable toothbrushes

Whenever you eat, it’s always ideal to brush your teeth afterward for better dental health. For those with braces, this is particularly important since it is likely that food may get stuck in your orthodontic work. However, even if you can’t make it back to your hotel room to brush your teeth after each meal, by bringing a travel-sized toothbrush or purchasing disposable toothbrushes, you can keep your smile up to par—even when you’re on the go.

  1. Orthodontic wax

Though uncommon, mini emergencies like a broken bracket can happen while you are on vacation. Because orthodontic wax is so versatile, always remember to bring some along with you. Not only can it cover uncomfortable brackets, but it can also decrease pain from wayward wires and keep you smiling during your travels.

  1. Handheld mirror

If you carry a small mirror in a bag, you can examine your mouth in case of any orthodontic issues. Plus, a small mirror can be a useful tool after meals to help you see and remove food stuck in braces.

If you pack these braces essentials, you’ll be in good shape to head out on vacation! By bringing everything you need for a safe and braces-friendly trip, you’ll be able to keep your smile clean and your orthodontic work safe. If you have any questions or concerns about traveling with braces, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment with us before you leave, feel free to contact our office today!

Celebrating National Picnic Month with Braces-Friendly Snacks

December 11th, 2020

This July is National Picnic Month—the perfect time to head outside and enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends! However, you want to make sure you’re selecting picnic foods that will not cause damage to the brackets and wires on your braces. Our orthodontists have some recommendations for putting together a picnic basket that will be healthy for braces and delicious:

Soft fruits such as bananas, peaches, and blueberries

Take advantage of all the tasty fruit that’s in season during the summer months! These soft fruits are easy to chew and will not cause damage to your braces.


Cheese is a dental superfood full of calcium and protein, and, because it’s generally soft, it’s easy to chew. Cheese can also promote good oral health, actually lowering the acidity in the mouth. Best of all, string cheese is a super easy addition to your picnic basket!

Soft, raw veggies like cucumbers and peppers

Although you should mostly opt for cooked vegetables during your orthodontic treatment, these softer options are unlikely to damage your braces. These refreshing veggies pair well with hummus!

Hard boiled or deviled eggs

Another great source of protein, eggs are very easy to eat and won’t damage the wires and brackets on your braces.

Pudding cups

Although crunchy, chewy cookies and candies are likely to harm your braces, that doesn’t mean you have to skip dessert during your orthodontic treatment! Instead, opt for a soft and sweet option, such as pudding.


Skip the sugary sodas and juices that erode the enamel of your teeth. Instead, you should always pack water on your picnics! Not only is water healthy and refreshing, it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your braces clean!

We hope you’re enjoying the beautiful summer months. If you have any questions or concerns (about your braces-friendly picnic, or otherwise) please feel free to call our office!

Change Your Smile with Our Orthodontist in Oak Lawn

December 11th, 2020

Our orthodontists in Oak Lawn can change your smile so that you don’t have overlapping teeth or teeth that have large gaps. With modern orthodontic care, you can have a perfect smile that makes it easier to chew food and talk. In addition, you can have a smile that makes you feel confident in all circumstances. To learn more about orthodontic treatment, you should arrange an appointment with our orthodontists to have an evaluation. Your first appointment will include taking X-rays of your face so that our orthodontists understand your bone structure. While most of our patients only require removable aligners or some type of braces, some of our patients require treatment with palate expanders or headgear that changes the position of the jaw. After your examination, our orthodontists will create a customized treatment plan that includes the type of devices required for straightening your teeth. Our orthodontists can project how long the treatment plan will last, and most patients wear braces for two years, but aligners are worn for six months to two years. With this information, you can make an informed decision about your orthodontic treatment.

Aligners or Braces

If you need to wear braces to repair your dental malocclusions, then there are different types to choose from in Oak Lawn. You can choose to wear ceramic braces that have color-matching brackets or metal self-ligating braces. Our orthodontists make sure that the brackets and wires are attached correctly. When you need to wear aligners instead, our orthodontists will collect molds of your mouth, and these are analyzed by a computer to make the clear aligners.

Follow Your Treatment Plan

For treatment with aligners, you will have multiple sets of aligners that are made in a different way. Each set of aligners is worn for two to three weeks before you switch to a new set. You must wear the aligners for at least 22 hours a day and night. It is okay to remove the aligners to brush and floss your teeth. In addition, you should remove the devices while you chew food and drink beverages. Consuming a healthy diet is essential so that your teeth and alveolar bones are strong. If you wear braces, then you must follow our orthodontists’ rules concerning your diet to avoid eating sticky or hard foods that can harm the brackets or wires.

Get In Touch with Us for More Information

 To learn more about the benefits of visiting an orthodontist, we warmly encourage you to reach out and make an appointment with Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. At our convenient location in Oak Lawn, our caring and devoted team of professionals will be pleased to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up your consultation!

Why You Should Consider Braces in Oak Lawn

December 11th, 2020

Braces are not just for teenagers. Many adults should have gotten braces as youngsters but didn’t for whatever reason. It’s not too late to correct many orthodontic problems for adults. If you live in Oak Lawn, here are five good reasons to consider braces, no matter what your age.

The most common reason people get braces is to improve their appearance. There’s nothing like a straight, white smile to make a good impression on others. You may not realize that crooked teeth may create serious dental problems such as gum disease and tooth decay. They are harder to keep clean because sometimes dental floss won’t go in between making it likely that gum disease will develop.


You may be fine with the appearance of your crooked and overlapping teeth but not realize the oral problems you may face in the future. Teeth that protrude higher than the others, teeth that grow in sideways and teeth that grow on top of another tooth will all cause problems in the future. Gum disease and jawbone deterioration to name just a few.

Gaps between teeth may look cute in a child but can ruin tooth alignment and throw off the bite. Gaps also leave the jawbone unexercised from chewing, which will result in bone deterioration. If chewing becomes painful, you may avoid certain foods and become malnourished without realizing it at first.

Malocclusion is the term for a misaligned bite. This could be an overbite or an underbite. These conditions will affect the way you chew. Misaligned teeth may wear down faster, leading to loose, sore and broken teeth. As stated above, these teeth will be more difficult to keep clean, which could lead to gum disease and cavities. In certain studies, gum disease has been linked to diabetes and stroke. It is possible to have gum disease and not be aware of it. This is why regular dental checkups are essential.

Metal braces are smaller than they were in the past, but other options include:

  • Ceramic sets fit on the front like metal self-ligating braces but are tooth-colored so they are virtually invisible from a distance and in many photographs. Each type of braces comes with certain dietary restrictions so you don’t break a bracket or wire by eating something hard or sticky.
  • Invisalign is a tooth-straightening program that uses clear plastic aligners that fit over your teeth. The aligner is almost impossible to see even from very close, and since it is removed when you eat and clean your teeth, there are no dietary restrictions as with other braces.

If you are considering braces, we warmly invite you to reach out and make an appointment with Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. At our convenient location in Oak Lawn, our caring and devoted team of professionals will be pleased to explain your options in greater detail and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you!

The Benefits of Invisalign

December 11th, 2020

Ask both women and men about their favorite facial feature on a person, and they will usually say it’s a great smile that makes someone attractive. Straight, white teeth dazzle every time and never go out of style. Many of us, however, don’t have the ideal alignment. Our teeth may be crooked, gapped, or our bite may be off. We want to correct the issue, but we may not wish to advertise a mouth full of metal and any discomfort that might go with it. The Invisalign system offers multiple advantages for creating a super smile with straight teeth. Nothing could be easier.

Comfort and Convenience

Invisalign is the cool alternative to braces with metal brackets and wires. The system consists of removable aligners that are made of clear, medical-grade polyurethane resin. That’s right; these devices are virtually invisible, and that’s why your favorite celebrities wear them to straighten their teeth in the most discreet way. You can barely notice the aligners even up close on camera.

Fans of the system enjoy wearing Invisalign aligners because they feature smooth edges and are quite comfortable. In addition, you remove them to eat food and drink and to brush and floss. Traditional braces are fixed and not removable, and food can get trapped within the wires and brackets. That issue can cause problems with possible tooth decay or gum inflammation.

Invisalign also fits your teeth exactly during the straightening process, and each pair is designed to move your teeth as needed in the slightest, most precise way.

Quicker Results

Invisalign was developed to straighten teeth and improve your smile sooner than later. With traditional braces, the process is a lot slower and can take up to two years for the straightening treatment time to finish. The dental wire has to be tightened at regular intervals to slowly move teeth into their proper positions.

The clear aligners of Invisalign perform their magic by delivering a straight smile in only one year to a year and a half. The computerized system shows the orthodontist exactly what to expect with the patient. The 3-D digital scanning can even determine how long the patient will need to wear the aligners before they see results.

Get In Touch with Us for More Information

A great-looking smile always gets you noticed. If you’re a teen or adult who longs for a modern way to improve their smile, Invisalign is the system to consider. To learn more, we encourage you to reach out and make an appointment with Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. At our convenient location in Oak Lawn, we take pride in our skilled team of orthodontic experts. We can determine right away if you are a good candidate for these clear aligners. Contact us today to set up your consultation!

How to Protect Your Teeth During National Candy Month

December 11th, 2020

June is National Candy Month—every orthodontist’s worst nightmare! Candy can wreak havoc on your oral health, whether or not you have braces. The high sugar content fuels bacteria growth in your mouth, producing the acids that dissolve tooth enamel, cause tooth decay, and create cavities if left unchecked. Add in the brackets, bands, and wires of an orthodontic treatment, and you can be in for a real mess!

Since cutting out sugar entirely isn’t a realistic option for most, we have helpful tips about how your child can get their sugar fix while keeping their braces and teeth healthy:

1) Avoid certain types of candy. Not all sweets are created equal—certain types of candy can be much more damaging to teeth with braces. Here are the top three types of candy that you should try to avoid during this National Candy Month:

  • Hard candy (i.e. Jolly Ranchers, Life Savers, Lemon Heads): If bitten or chewed, hard candy can easily bend the wires or break the brackets of braces. This can be very costly to repair and can get in the way of orthodontic treatment. Furthermore, small particles of hard candy often get stuck between the wires and bands, which can cause tooth decay and cavities.
  • Chewy candy (i.e. Milk Duds, Tootsie Rolls, Laffy Taffy): The sticky consistency of these candies often results in distorted wires or ripped off brackets. Additionally, these types of candies tend to stick to the teeth—particularly between wires and brackets, dissolving the tooth enamel over time.
  • Small candies (i.e. M&Ms, Skittles, Nerds): While these small candies may seem harmless, they are a leading cause of damage to braces. As a result of their size, these candies tend to get under the wire and pop off a bracket when you bite down, especially when consumed in handfuls. It’s better to steer clear of these candies altogether.

2) Brush and floss immediately after consuming sugar. Though it might be difficult to cut out sugar completely, you can take precautions to make sure that your sugar intake doesn’t harm your teeth. This is particularly important when you have braces, since particles of candy tend to stick and hide between your brackets and wires. However, by brushing and flossing immediately after consuming a sweet treat, you can minimize this damage on your oral health. It’s a great idea to keep a travel toothbrush and package of dental floss to use on the go!

3) Choose your candy wisely. As an alternative to the aforementioned candies, you should opt for a soft chocolate—preferably a dark chocolate that is low in sugar content—or a peanut butter cup that will pack in some protein alongside the sugar. A homemade baked goodie can also be a good alternative to candy. Since these desserts are soft, they are unlikely to cause damage to braces.

Like everything else in life, it’s important to consume candy in moderation. Alongside good oral hygiene habits, soft alternatives to candy are unlikely to cause damage to your child’s oral or orthodontic well-being. Keeping these tips in mind, you’re equipped to help your child make smarter choices when they indulge this National Candy Month.

Braces for Adults in Oak Lawn

December 11th, 2020

Braces are no longer just for teenagers. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, roughly 20 percent of the patients who undergo orthodontic treatment are over 21 years old. Adult patients in Oak Lawn either received no treatment at all as children or they received incomplete treatment. They, thus, need braces for adults to correct problems like misaligned bites or malocclusions, crowded teeth, spaces between teeth, or crooked teeth.

Adult patients may choose from the following types of braces:

  • Invisalign®
  • Self-ligating braces (ceramic or metal)

Self-ligating braces for adults resemble traditional metal braces, but the brackets have special clips that hold the archwire and help it maneuver teeth into their proper places and alignment. The brackets can be active or passive depending on the thickness of the archwire used. Active brackets use a thicker archwire that puts more pressure on the teeth and moves them more quickly, while passive brackets have a thinner archwire. The patient won’t need to use elastics, and they will need fewer adjustments.

Invisalign® is a brand of clear aligners and is essentially removable braces. The patient will wear them for at least 22 hours every day, but they can take them out to eat or to clean their teeth. The patient will, thus, have an easier time keeping their teeth clean. They may also eat and drink what they like without having to worry about damaging their orthodontic devices. The patient will change trays every two weeks.

Ceramic or porcelain self-ligating braces for adults are made of clear materials and are much less visible than metal braces. They are more fragile than metal braces, so the patient will have to treat them carefully. The orthodontist may use ceramic braces for just the upper teeth and use metal braces for the lower teeth.

During the first consultation, the team will go over the patient’s medical and dental history. They will also perform a complete oral exam, including X-rays, to determine the best treatment for the patient.

After completing the exam and going over the X-rays, the orthodontist will explain the different treatment options. After the patient chooses one, the orthodontist will explain the rules for caring for the braces.

To learn more about your options regarding braces for adults, speak with our staff at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, located in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to book an appointment and get started!

The Advantages of Self-Ligating Braces

December 11th, 2020

Self-ligating braces are rising in popularity right now. This form of orthodontic appliance is not actually a new development, having been around for decades. They began to increase in popularity about 30 years ago and have really exploded over the last few years due to advantages like fewer visits needed to the orthodontist and less discomfort and friction that makes it easier on teeth. They are also easier to clean and do not require metal ties or elastics.

What Are Self-Ligating Braces?

Self-ligating braces are put into place similar to traditional braces, but they did not require rubber bands, metal ties, or elastics. They rely upon brackets or special clips that allow the wires to shift your teeth into their proper positions. The special clips provide greater freedom of movement to minimize any discomfort that is often correlated with conventional ligature. All that is needed is a simple clip for bracket adjustment, saving time and resulting in less discomfort during your orthodontic visits.

Conventional metal braces use brackets attached to your teeth. An arch wire goes through o-rings in the brackets. This type of treatment, on the other hand, uses a small front gate to secure the wire when closed. The result is less friction on your teeth.

There are two types of self-ligating braces: passive and active. The passive form is applied with a smaller arch wire, resulting in less friction and allowing freedom of teeth movement. This is the most normal type used at the start of treatment. Active brackets use a thicker wire, delivering additional teeth pressure.

Studies have found that self-ligating braces offered a lower frictional resistance, as well as significantly less chair time for wire insertion and removal. They’ve also been found to promote enhanced infection control, particularly when compared to other forms of braces.

In many cases, they are smaller than conventional braces, making them more appealing to wearers. They are also available in metal or ceramic (clear) brackets, which can make them a great choice for adults.

Other benefits of self-ligating braces include faster treatment times due to less friction that allows your teeth more freedom of movement. Another advantage is increased comfort because of less friction and better results. Patients also appreciate the fact that they can go for longer periods of time between appointments.

Schedule Your Consultation 

If you would like to receive more information about self-ligating braces, you can begin the process of straightening your teeth by visiting Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. We are conveniently located in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!

What Makes Braces in Oak Lawn So Effective?

December 11th, 2020

Braces are gaining popularity with many people in Oak Lawn and elsewhere using them to resolve various dental issues. These are appliances that orthodontists recommend for people with misaligned teeth/jaws or crowded teeth to help them correct the conditions. The devices are designed for minor corrections to give you an appealing smile and an even bite. Braces work by continually putting pressure on your teeth or jaws so that they can push them to the desired position. They are made up of two main components: wires and brackets. A bracket is used to hold each tooth, and they ensure that the teeth are pushed to the desired position. The wires are used to keep the braces in place and need to be attached to the brackets. After the devices are set, you will need to see an orthodontist regularly to make necessary adjustments.

Who Can Wear Braces?

They are recommended for people who have crooked teeth and misaligned teeth and jaws. Orthodontists agree that there is no age limit as to who can wear braces, although they are common among teenagers. In order for you to wear braces, your gums and teeth should be reasonably stable since the appliances are attached to them, thus making them unsuitable for people with weak gums. The pressure exerted on the teeth and gum can interfere with your oral health. If you want to get an even bite and a better smile, you should consult a specialist about the possibility of wearing these devices.

What are the Benefits?

It is helpful to know that numerous benefits come with wearing braces in Oak Lawn. Some of these benefits are:

  • You get an even bite: A significant problem that is associated with misaligned jaws and teeth is the uneven bite of the patient. You can correct this by undergoing orthodontic treatment.
  • They make it easy for you to clean your teeth: Oral health is essential for your general well-being, and neglecting it will result in oral health issues like tooth decay. If you have crooked teeth, it will be difficult for you to clean your teeth. You can use braces to align your teeth and make it easier for you to clean them and maintain excellent oral health.
  • Your smile will be enhanced: People who have misaligned teeth and jaws tend to have low self-esteem, and they tend to be less confident about their appearance. You can increase your confidence and boost your self-esteem by undergoing this treatment.

Do you have crooked teeth or an uneven bite? Do you want to correct the conditions? If so, make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, located in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule your orthodontic appointment!

Why Choose Invisalign?

December 11th, 2020

People do notice your smile, and nothing beats a set of bright, straight, natural teeth. Maybe you’ve considered traditional braces with metal wires and brackets but don’t have the patience needed for this type of straightening process. Or maybe you just don’t want to show the world that you’re wearing a mouth full of metal. That’s why the iconic system called Invisalign® was developed. It makes life easier for the patient, and these “modern braces” are comfy and barely noticeable. Many famous celebrities choose Invisalign®, and you can’t even detect they’re wearing them on camera.

The Clear Alternative 

The Invisalign® system features zero metal, brackets or wires and instead consists of clear, plastic, removable aligners to straighten the teeth. The custom-made aligners are created in a high-tech lab that uses detailed imaging of your teeth and mouth. You don’t have to worry about goopy putty impressions.

Invisalign® is worn every day, and a new set of aligners will be used every two weeks. The great part about the system is its convenience and comfort level. The aligners are removed for eating and drinking and when brushing your teeth. You are not restricted from enjoying even the gooiest or crunchiest foods. In fact, there is little that can interrupt your busy life when wearing clear aligners. You can continue to play sports, or be active in all the things you enjoy doing. You don’t have to worry about breaking any metal or wire brackets and rushing to the orthodontist for emergency repairs.

Treatable Conditions

The Invisalign® system was designed for both teens and adults and can treat various types of teeth and alignment issues. For example, Invisalign® can fix crowded teeth or those with an underbite or overbite. The clear aligners can also treat crossbite, gaps or an open bite and crooked teeth.

Many patients like wearing clear aligners for the comfort they give. Every aligner is trimmed based on each user’s gum line for better comfort and appearance. Invisalign® is popular around the world because it works well and works fast.

If you’re concerned about your imperfect teeth and would really like a smile makeover, Invisalign® is a proven modern method that delivers incredible results. Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, we take great pride in our team of skilled and knowledgeable experts, and we’d be happy to provide you with more information about this braces alternative. Contact us today to book an appointment and get started.

Take Your Smile to the Next Level with Invisalign

December 11th, 2020

To put it simply, Invisalign® straightens the teeth without using wires. Durable, smooth and clear plastic is custom-molded into an aligner set. These aligners are nearly invisible and are exchanged with a new set twice each month to gradually straighten the teeth. In most cases, Invisalign® works as well as standard braces. Braces may be necessary if the teeth require severe re-spacing or straightening. The aligners are customized for each patient using 3D Imaging Technology software. This enables the patient to see how their smile will look as their teeth are straightened and aligned during the treatment. The majority of people like what they see and commit to the treatment.

Once the commitment has been made to proceed, a mold of the teeth is made so the aligners can be fabricated professionally for the stages of the treatment. The most popular feature is nobody will know the person’s teeth are being straightened because the aligners are virtually invisible. The aligners are worn for 22 hours every day, including during sleep. In many cases, the treatment can be completed in just twenty weeks. However, it all depends on the case. The aligners are removed when the teeth need to be cleaned and while eating. This means the person can keep eating whatever they want with just a few exceptions.

If the individual smokes or drinks a lot of coffee, the aligners and teeth will yellow as time passes. The best solution is to limit the consumption of cigarettes and coffee whenever possible and practice good dental care, including brushing and flossing. Periodic dental visits are scheduled for any necessary modifications and to review the progress of the teeth.

One of the main advantages of Invisalign® is the aligners can be removed for cleaning. This also enables the person to thoroughly brush and floss their teeth daily to help eliminate cavities. It is important to repeat that the aligners are virtually invisible. This makes the person more comfortable because they do not have a smile filled with metal. Their friends, families, partners and employers will not know they are wearing aligners. The aligners are also a lot more comfortable than wearing traditional braces and do not cause abrasions while eating. This is because they can be removed while eating. This is one of the reasons so many people choose Invisalign® over traditional braces.

This system is ideal for correcting misaligned or crooked teeth without the barriers or hassle of standard braces. In many cases, this is the perfect solution to improve confidence without the necessity for wires. If you are interested in the Invisalign® system and want to learn more about the alternatives to traditional braces, please set up your personal consultation at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, located in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to book your appointment!

Ways Braces for Kids Can Help Your Children

December 11th, 2020

No kid wants to have braces. However, the benefits later in life make braces worth the trouble for every child. They’ll be left with a flawless smile. Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we are proud to offer braces for kids and encourage you to learn more about it.

Signs a Child May Require Braces 

The most conspicuous sign is crooked teeth. A crooked smile can be corrected in just a few years with braces. However, there are more signs that a child may require braces. Pain while eating could be a sign your child needs braces. A child could also frequently bite his lip, cheek, or roof of the mouth. Another sign that a child might need braces is a misaligned jaw.

The Benefits

 Improved appearance is the number one benefit of braces; however, there are many benefits that people may not know about. Speech is even improved with braces. Aligning the teeth with braces could also reduce future damage too. By putting the teeth in position, you are preventing grinding and future teeth shifting.


Your child may feel self-conscious while the braces are on, but they will have an increased self-image once the braces come off. By getting the braces put on as soon as the adult teeth come in you are also getting them ahead of the curb. They will have higher self-confidence during their important teenage years.

Long Term Benefits of Braces for Kids

The benefits of braces are life long. Not only are you teaching your child to care for their teeth, you are teaching them that normal dentist visits are routine. These habits will carry on into adulthood. Generally speaking, having straight teeth will lessen the chance of having more serious dental issues in the future.

Seek Consultation

For more information on how braces for kids can help, we warmly invite you to reach out and make an appointment with Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. At our convenient location in Oak Lawn, we can examine your child’s teeth and determine which options are best. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you!

Men and Women in Oak Lawn Love Invisalign!

December 11th, 2020

Being able to have a smile that you can feel confident showing off is important as a man or a woman. If you are constantly hiding your smile, it impacts your life and self-esteem. Invisalign® can be a great option for any adult in Oak Lawn who wants to straighten their smile quickly and easily. Learn more about the benefits of this revolutionary dental option below.

Enjoy Painless Teeth Alignment

Adults are often hesitant to try aligning their teeth because they remember their friends telling them how uncomfortable braces were when they were children. Braces can actually pull on the teeth in the realignment process, but clear aligners such as Invisalign® gradually shift the position of the teeth rather than pulling them so it is totally comfortable to get your teeth into a straighter position.

Enjoy Affordable Teeth Alignment 

When you opt for Invisalign®, you don’t have to worry about going to the orthodontist to have things tightened as often as you would with braces. The aligners simply need to be swapped out when your teeth shift into place. A new aligner helps the teeth move into different positions over time in a safe, comfortable way.

Enjoy Discreet Teeth Alignment 

You may not wish to have everyone see a bunch of metal in your mouth when you smile. This can leave you feeling less confident when you do smile. Invisalign® clear so people cannot even tell they are on your teeth. They are lightweight so you can talk without having a lisp and are easy to take in and out so you have no difficulties when you eat.

Contact Us Today for More Information

We are ready and eager to talk to you about Invisalign®. To discuss your options and discover how quickly we can start aligning your teeth so that you can get the beautiful smile you have always wanted, feel free to make an appointment with Petty & Bielik Orthodontics! At our convenient location in Oak Lawn, our professionals will be pleased to explain the process in greater detail and answer any questions you may have. The amount of time you will need to have the aligners on your teeth varies from person to person so we can discuss in the consultation the specific details about your unique situation so that you can learn exactly what to expect during the process. Contact us today to set up your consultation!

When Should I See an Orthodontist?

December 11th, 2020

Orthodontics is a specialty within dentistry that specializes in treating malocclusion or “bad bite.” Malocclusion describes a variety of conditions caused by crooked or improperly positioned teeth. In addition to being unattractive, malocclusion can cause problems with chewing and speech. Our orthodontists can treat a variety of issues with the latest technology.

When Should Someone See an Orthodontist?

Children should start seeing an orthodontist when they’re around seven years old. By that age, their adult teeth will have started to grow in, and the orthodontist will be able to spot developing problems.

Patients of any age should see an orthodontist for help with conditions like the following:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Gaps between the teeth
  • Impacted teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite

What Is the Two-Phase Treatment?

 The two-phase or two-step treatment is designed to take advantage of a child’s flexible jaw. That flexibility makes it easier to treat various conditions. For example, a child with an abnormally narrow palate would have to wear a palatal expander for a few months. An adult with the same problem would need jaw surgery to correct it.

The first phase of the treatment, which generally starts by the time the child is eight years old, concentrates on ensuring that the child’s jaws can accommodate all of their adult teeth. During this phase, the child may have to wear a palatal expander or some other orthodontic appliance.

After phase one is completed, there will be a resting period while the rest of the adult teeth emerge. Phase two will start when the patient is in their early teens and has all of their adult teeth except for their wisdom teeth. During phase two, the orthodontist will be concentrating on straightening the patient’s teeth. Phase two will thus involve braces.

Is There an Age Limit for Orthodontic Treatment?

It depends on the treatment. Some only work on children; others will work on adults as well. There’s even an orthodontic appliance used mainly on adult patients. It’s Invisalign®, and it’s basically a type of transparent, removable braces. Invisalign® consists of a pair of aligners or trays that the patient will wear over their upper and lower teeth. The patient can take the aligners out while eating or cleaning their teeth, but they should wear them for at least 22 hours per day. The aligners work by gradually nudging the teeth into their proper positions. The patient will change trays about every two weeks.

If you are interested in learning more about the orthodontic treatments offered at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, pay our office a visit to speak with our professionals. We are conveniently located in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!

What Are the Benefits of Ceramic Braces?

December 11th, 2020

If you have decided that you could benefit from tooth straightening via braces, either for hygiene or cosmetic needs, there are several types to choose from. Ceramic braces were designed for people who wanted their orthodontic treatment to be less noticeable. When they first came out, they stained quite easily and were not as durable as other forms of braces. Now, thanks to technological advances, ceramic braces are a great option to give serious consideration if you want your braces to be more discreet.

What Are the Benefits of Ceramic Braces? 

There is a lot to think about when deciding what type of braces to use. Some of the benefits that ceramic has over other material types include:


Perhaps the most popular reason that people choose ceramic over metal braces has to do with how noticeable they are. Although they have similar shapes, ceramic braces use brackets that are harder, if not impossible, to see. If you are concerned about people seeing you as having a mouth full of metal, ceramic may be the way to go.

Easy Removal

When you are ready to kiss your braces goodbye, ceramic is much easier to remove than other options. As mentioned above, the adhesive will not demineralize the tooth enamel, leaving the underlying teeth healthy and straight.

Faster Than Invisalign®

You may be asking yourself why people do not use Invisalign® if they are concerned about how their braces will look. The short answer is that ceramic self-ligating braces work faster. Invisalign® trays can be removed, something that happens often and slows down the treatment process. Ceramic braces are working to straighten teeth 24/7.

Learn More About Ceramic Braces

There are pros and cons to any dental treatment. If you would like to learn more about the types of braces we offer and which one may be right for you, speak with our professionals. If you are interested in ceramic braces, the professionals at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics are here to help answer any questions you may have. We are conveniently located in Oak Lawn, IL. Contact us today to schedule your consultation! At this consultation, the best treatment for you can be determined and a customized plan can be created.

Consider Orthodontic Braces in Oak Lawn

December 11th, 2020

With the number of cosmetic dental treatments available today, there is no reason for you to live with a smile that you do not love. Orthodontic care can help you get straight, symmetrical teeth and a good bite that will make it easier for you to eat. The most popular and widely known orthodontic treatment in Oak Lawn is braces. If you’re seeking orthodontic braces in Oak Lawn, simply contact us!

Types of Braces

The most typical orthodontic braces in Oak Lawn are made of metal. These consist of the brackets that are cemented to the fronts of the teeth as well as the metal bands that are wrapped around the larger molars. A wire is strung through each of these pieces to pull the teeth gently into new positions. Another option is ceramic braces. These braces function in exactly the same way that metal braces do. However, they are not as noticeable on the teeth because the ceramic is the same white color as the teeth are. Finally, clear aligners, which use clear plastic trays to move the teeth, are another alternative to traditional orthodontic braces in Oak Lawn. Once again, they are best for teenagers and adults and are best when used on individuals who do not have severely misaligned teeth. They are practically invisible, conveniently removable, and entirely comfortable.

Benefits of Braces

Of course, the most obvious benefit of orthodontic braces is their ability to improve the aesthetics of your smile. When you feel good about how straight your teeth are, you will be more willing to smile widely. However, the benefits of braces include more than just aesthetics. Well-aligned teeth make it easier to take bites of food and to chew. For some, aligning the teeth may even make it easier to talk by getting rid of lisps.

Get in Touch for Further Information

Orthodontic braces in Oak Lawn are customizable for people of all ages, as almost anyone in need of tooth alignment could benefit from orthodontic braces. A simple trip to our office can help you understand how we can improve your smile and facial structure simply by slightly moving your teeth. With prompt orthodontic care, you can experience great results and can enjoy a beautiful smile for the rest of your life. For more information, get in touch with Petty & Bielik Orthodontics! At our convenient location in Oak Lawn, we will be happy to answer any questions you have and help you decide which braces would be best for you. Contact us today to set up your consultation!


Teeth Straightening with Invisalign: How It Works

December 11th, 2020

A straight, white smile can make anyone feel more confident. In the past, the only option for crooked teeth was metal braces. Now, you have the option of going with Invisalign®, which can give you dramatic results without the noticeability of braces. We at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics are proud to offer this teeth straightening product to our patients and invite you to learn more about it.

What Is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is a series of comfortable, removable, and practically invisible aligners made with 3D imaging technology. They are custom made for your mouth and used in a specific sequence to ensure the best results possible. More than 70% of orthodontists in the US and Canada are certified to administer this product.

How Does Invisalign® Work?

A very specific treatment plan is designed for you. The appropriate amount of controlled pressure is used to move teeth towards the desired position. This allows your treatment plan to be customized to get you the best results in the least amount of time possible. You will switch to a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks and be seen every six weeks to make sure that everything is progressing as it should. It is recommended that you remove your aligners only to eat, drink, brush, and floss.

The amount of time you will need to use Invisalign® can vary depending on your teeth. On average, an adult user of this product will need to wear them from around 9 to 15 months, and the number of aligners worn in this span may be anywhere from 18 to 30.

Why Use Invisalign®? 

There are a lot of reasons that people love Invisalign® as a teeth straightening option. Some of the most notable benefits include:

  • They are virtually invisible. No one has to know you are wearing them if you do not want them to.
  • There are no metal brackets or wires. These often cause irritation to those who wear traditional braces.
  • They are removable. While you should keep them in most of the time, they can be removed if needed.

If you are interested in learning more about the teeth straightening benefits of Invisalign®, we encourage you to reach out and make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics! At our office in Oak Lawn, IL, our dedicated staff is more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up your consultation!

Advantages of Invisible Braces In Oak Lawn

December 11th, 2020

Oak Lawn residents with dental malocclusions (misalignments) can enjoy the benefits from wearing invisible braces to straighten their teeth. In the past, the only way to fix misaligned teeth was with metallic braces, but today, most adults and teenagers can wear clear braces instead. There are multiple advantages to wearing invisible braces, but first you must have a complete examination to determine if you are a candidate. To wear aligners, you must have a mouth that isn’t growing rapidly, and this is why children cannot wear these orthodontic devices.

There are several advantages from wearing invisible braces, and you can learn more about these orthodontic devices from one of our professionals. First, invisible aligners are comfortable devices that are customized to fit over your teeth on the top and bottom of your mouth. You won’t receive only one set of aligners because the devices are made in a series that will reposition your teeth slowly over several months. Each set of aligners lasts for approximately two weeks before you switch to a new set. Caring for your aligners is easy by rinsing the items with plain water several times a day along with sanitizing the devices correctly with the recommended cleaning solutions. Keeping your invisible braces clean will prevent stains on the devices. You must also brush your teeth every day, and this is much easier to do with your clear aligners.

If you have always wanted to correct the minor misalignments of your teeth, invisible braces may be an ideal choice. Clear aligners are barely noticeable by others, especially when you take proper care of them. If you have an important meeting, you can remove the plastic aligners for a few hours. However, professionals will recommend wearing the invisible braces as much as possible to result in sooner results. You are also advised to remove the invisible braces while you are eating or drinking, and afterward, you can place the aligners over your teeth. While you should take proper care of your aligners, if one of the devices is damaged in some way, you can change to the next set of aligners without experiencing any problems.

For additional information about malocclusion treatment with invisible braces, we invite you to contact the office of Petty & Bielik Orthodontics today to arrange a personal consultation. At our location in Oak Lawn, you will meet a team of dedicated professionals who aim to give you a grin you’ll love to bear. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Try Clear Aligners in Oak Lawn!

December 11th, 2020

When you have mild to moderate dental malocclusions (meaning imperfectly aligned teeth), you may be eligible to wear clear aligners in Oak Lawn rather than braces. You should understand what aligners are and how the items are designed for your teeth.

First, our specialists will examine your mouth and collect medical images. We will evaluate your overall dental health in a consultation, which will determine more about the misalignments of your teeth. You might have minor gaps between your teeth, or you might have teeth that overlap slightly, and these are some of the problems that clear aligners can repair. At our office in Oak Lawn, we offer the Invisalign® treatment, which can work wonders towards improving your smile and bite.

Your orthodontic evaluation will determine if you can wear removable aligners rather than braces, but this type of orthodontic treatment is designed for mature teenagers and adults. If you choose to wear aligners, then you must follow our professional recommendations and instructions for the devices.

Clear aligners are less visible and more comfortable than braces, with neither metal nor wires, meaning you spend less time in our office getting adjustments. Brushing and flossing pose no problem, and while in treatment, you can eat whatever you like.

Each set of clear aligners is meant to be worn for approximately two weeks, and removed only for brushing, flossing, drinking, and eating. As you wear each new aligner, your teeth move bit by bit over time until settling into their final, improved positions.

If you think clear aligners might be right for you, and if you wish to learn more about your various options regarding braces, reach out to make an appointment with Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, located in Oak Lawn, IL! Our mission is to give you a grin you love to bear. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Ceramic Braces: What are the Benefits?

December 11th, 2020

Ceramic braces have been around since the 80s. They were designed as an answer for people who wanted less visible braces. In the beginning, they were not very sturdy and they stained easily. Technology has come a long way since then. If it has been decided that you could benefit from braces, there are several reasons you should consider going with ceramic ones.


If you need dental realignment, ceramic braces are a comfortable option. The brackets are smaller and also more rounded, causing your mouth less irritation. Gums, in particular, seem less affected by ceramic braces than they do by metal ones. 


One of the biggest reasons people choose ceramic over metal braces is that they are much less noticeable. Both types of braces have the same shape, but ceramic braces use brackets that are much smaller and can even seem invisible. This is great for people who do not want to look back at photos of themselves with a mouth full of metal.


If you are a younger patient looking to add some color to your mouth, know that colored bands can still be used on the brackets of ceramic braces. This can be especially fun around the holidays and can take something that may be stressful and make it a bit more fun. 

Tooth Enamel

Patients that go with ceramic braces benefit from the fact that they do not de-mineralize the tooth’s enamel. Technology has advanced to the point that the bonding agent used is very strong without damaging the natural enamel on your teeth. This means when the braces come off, your natural smile will be ready to shine!

Faster Than Invisalign®

You may be wondering why people do not go with Invisalign® if they are so concerned about their braces being noticeable. The biggest reason is that ceramic braces work faster. Unlike with Invisalign®, you do not have the option of removing your ceramic braces whenever you want, meaning they are working on your teeth around the clock.

Talk to our orthodontists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn to learn more information about ceramic braces. Contact us today to book an orthodontic appointment!

What to Consider When Choosing an Orthodontist

December 11th, 2020

When you choose an orthodontist, you are choosing the person who is going to be most responsible for the ultimate look of your smile. Because your smile is one of the most important and noticeable aspects of how you look to others, you will want to make this decision with great care. Consider all aspects of the orthodontist and his or her practice because even if you love the orthodontist, you will not feel comfortable at a crowded, noisy or unfriendly facility. Here are a few tips to consider as you make your important choice.

Your orthodontist should be highly qualified with plenty of experience. You should ask what education your orthodontist has. Most began with a bachelor’s degree before taking two to three additional years for specialized education in orthodontics. This gives the practitioner a solid foundation in knowledge and treatment protocols for moving the teeth and correcting problems with oral bite. Your orthodontist should also be a member of a professional organization, such as the American Board of Orthodontics, which proves that he or she is board-certified and up-to-date with continuing education in the field.

You should be able to see plenty of examples of the orthodontist’s past work. Your orthodontist will most likely have pictures placed around the office of happy past patients sporting gorgeously aligned smiles. However, you may also want to see before-and-after pictures of past clients to get an idea of the changes the orthodontist will be able to make in your mouth.

You should attend a consultation to meet your orthodontist before starting treatments. You will want to take this time to get to know your orthodontist personally and to talk about treatment goals. This will help to ensure that you are both on the same page as far as treatments and time frames go.

You should be offered a wide range of treatment options. Orthodontics is not a one-size-fits all treatment approach. Many people do well with basic metal braces. However, some may prefer ceramic braces that blend in with the teeth more, making the braces less visible. You may even want to ask if treatments with invisible trays are offered if you are concerned about noticeable braces. Your orthodontic treatment may also include head gear and retainers.

You should feel comfortable in the office and when interacting with the ancillary staff. You will be chatting with the front office staff often and spending time in the waiting room. The environment should be welcoming and should set you at ease.

Your choice of an orthodontist is certainly an important one that should not be taken lightly because you will have a working relationship with your orthodontist for the next two or more years. We invite you to contact us here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics for an initial consultation if you have never been to our office. We are sure that you will be impressed with what you see and learn here. Contact us today!

Braces for Adults: When are They Necessary?

December 11th, 2020

More and more adults are getting braces in an attempt to be happier with their smile. Not all reasons for getting braces for adults are driven by vanity, however. A misaligned bite can cause more and more problems as you age. This is true of crooked teeth and an improperly positioned jaw as well. Getting braces as an adult can be an investment in oral and overall health, as well as your self-esteem.

Why Would an Adult Need Braces?

It is possible that you needed braces as a child and simply never had the opportunity. It is also entirely possible that your oral issues have developed as you aged. Teeth can and do shift as time goes on. Losing teeth, as well as aging itself, can cause your jawbone to change shape.

If you have an overbite, underbite, overcrowded teeth, or a misaligned jaw, braces for adults may be necessary for your overall health. The following is a list of just some of the issues that can arise from those conditions:

  • Jaw pain
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Earaches
  • Tooth decay (due to difficulty brushing thoroughly and effectively)
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders (a condition commonly called TMJ)

Cosmetic Issues

One of the first things people notice about someone is their smile. Numerous studies have been done showing how people react more positively to photos of people with nice teeth. Getting braces for adults is a great way to get a boost in confidence and feel great when you smile.

Types of Adult Braces

You have options! Reach out to our team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, located in Oak Lawn, to learn more about your options regarding braces for adults. Contact us today to book an appointment and get started!

Want Invisible Braces? Explore Your Options

December 11th, 2020

Self-ligating braces have helped many patients in Oak Lawn straighten their teeth, but those orthodontic devices aren’t the best option for everyone. Invisible braces are an excellent alternative to metal or ceramic braces, and we are proud to offer these devices to all patients who would like to smile with confidence. Here is a quick look at some of the most common types of invisible braces and a few reasons why you might benefit from one of these devices. 

The Importance of Treating a Crooked Smile

Many patients never even consider straightening their teeth, but that can be a serious mistake. Having a crooked smile will increase your risk of dozens of different health complications. All of your teeth support one another, and any problems with their alignment will prevent that from happening. Patients who have crooked teeth suffer from much higher rates of periodontal disease, tooth decay, and dental fractures. Those are just a few of the reasons why it is so important to consider your restorative treatment options.

Ceramic Braces

In addition to metal brackets, we also offer ceramic brackets. Ceramic is a popular material among dentists and orthodontists because it is natural-looking, durable, and resistant to bacteria. The ceramic posts will match the natural tone of your teeth, and that is going to make them less noticeable. Once the ceramic braces have been installed, you can care for them just as if they were metal braces.

Invisalign® Aligners 

Invisalign® aligners have become quite popular over the last few years. These invisible trays straighten your teeth just like metal braces, but they can be taken out at any time. They are also very easy to care for. You might be a good candidate for Invisalign® invisible braces if you have minor alignment issues with your upper or lower teeth.

Schedule an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn if you would like to learn more about any of these advanced orthodontic devices. Contact us today to book an initial consultation.

What are My Options for Teeth Straightening?

December 11th, 2020

When it comes to treatments for teeth straightening, you have a wide variety of options available to you. Selecting the right kind of braces for your individual situation need not be difficult. Your consultation with us will help you decide the exact type of braces that are the best fit for your needs and goals. They will help shift your teeth into their proper alignment and give you the beautiful smile that you desire. Out of all of the various types of braces that you could select, some are certainly more appropriate than others.

Metal Braces

Familiar to almost any teenager, or former teenager, conventional metal braces have two main parts: the metal brackets that are affixed to your teeth and the wire running through the brackets that applies pressure to the teeth to shift them into their desired alignment.

Most teenagers get traditional braces since they are able to quickly move teeth into their ideal locations. Metal braces have undergone somewhat of an upgrade in recent years. Formerly, the wires and brackets used were very prominent and annoying to the wearer. Today’s metal braces are less noticeable and smaller than in the past. Innovations in the wires also allow for quicker shifting of teeth and less discomfort.

Ceramic Braces

At one time, ceramic braces were quite popular for teeth straightening compared to metal braces. The materials are formed from ceramic that is the same color as the teeth. Wires are also used that match the patient’s tooth color, so the process is virtually invisible.

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces are much like conventional metal and ceramic braces in that they use brackets and wires. They also use brackets that have doors or clips that maintain a grip on the wire instead of the rubber band system used by conventional braces.


Invisalign® is a form of teeth straightening that is quite common and effective. Although it is not for everyone, it does offer some benefits, including the advantage of being able to remove the aligners used in the treatment. The treatment is also exceptionally discreet.

Take a moment to book an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn to learn more about braces and your other teeth straightening options. Contact us today to schedule an orthodontic appointment.

Clear Braces: Are They Worth It?

December 11th, 2020

There is a growing number of adults who wear braces. Many adults are opting to use clear braces because they feel that clear braces can help them correct their orthodontic challenges and at the same time allow them to present a professional appearance at work.

Adults seem to feel more comfortable using clear braces than they do using braces that have metal brackets. One of the reasons why clear braces are more popular today is that it is more acceptable now than at any other time in history for adults to use braces. There are a number of adults who grew up in families that could not afford orthodontic treatments while they were teenagers. Many went through their teenage life and their early adult years with crooked teeth. Now that they have more financial possibilities, they take steps to correct their teeth, but they want to do it in the least invasive and least visible way possible.

There are a number of benefits that come from using clear braces. One of the benefits that comes from using braces like Invisalign is that the aligners can be removed for eating meals, for brushing teeth, and for engaging in special social events. Later, the aligners can be put back on to continue adjusting the teeth.

The more straightened your teeth are, the healthier they look. If a person is not willing to use metal braces, they might live their entire life with less than perfect teeth. This means that their teeth are always going to be susceptible to food particles and plaque accumulation, dental decay, and eventual gum disease. When a person’s teeth are straight, they are a lot easier to clean. They are also a lot easier to floss. Their teeth fit more snugly into their gums. All of these things reduce the chances of them developing periodontal disease.

The end goal of clear braces is to help you keep your teeth for the rest of your life. This means that the benefits of using clear braces go far beyond simply having an attractive smile. Clear braces help adults and teenagers straighten their teeth and at the same time maintain their confidence level throughout the teeth straightening process.

Of course, not everyone is going to be a good candidate for invisible braces. That being said, a large percentage of people do qualify for invisible braces that can drastically improve the appearance of their teeth. If you are concerned about the look of your teeth, make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, IL. Contact us today for a consultation!

What are the Benefits of Using a Retainer?

December 11th, 2020

Having metal braces removed feels liberating. Even if you used the Invisalign® treatment system, you are likely happy to not have to worry about changing your aligners every few weeks. The work is done, and your teeth and smile are attractive and straight. You went through all of that discomfort of wearing braces because you knew that at the end of the day, your teeth were going to look better. Now that you have the smile that you’ve spent all of this time, effort, and money on, don’t you want to make sure that it lasts? This is one of the reasons why it is so important that you continue to wear a retainer after orthodontic treatment.

Once you get your braces removed, it is imperative that you continue to follow the advice and the plan laid out by our orthodontist. You do not want your teeth to shift back to their previous appearance. This is why you should wear your retainer as directed.

There are a number of retainer types that our orthodontists may recommend. The recommendation will vary depending on the condition that you are treated for and the current condition of your teeth.

One very popular option is bonded retainers. These are used on the lower front teeth. The retainer is glued to the six front lower teeth. This gives you the option to leave the retainer in permanently to keep your teeth in position. What is great about a bonded retainer is that it is very discreet. It only affects the inside of your teeth. A bonded retainer is virtually invisible.

Many people use a clear retainer. These are often used for the upper front teeth. Most orthodontists recommend that their patients use one while they sleep. This prevents their teeth from moving during the night.

Regardless of the retainer we recommend, it is imperative that you continue to use it for as long as our orthodontists say. This is the only way that you’re going to be able to maintain an attractive smile. To schedule a consultation with our orthodontists, contact us today at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. We look forward to speaking with you!

Visiting Our Experienced Orthodontists in Chicago

December 11th, 2020

As you travel through the suburbs of Chicago, you see a number of dentist and orthodontist offices. You know that no two dentists or orthodontists are the same. You want the highest quality orthodontist available. You want your provider to be caring and well-trained. Most importantly, you want an experienced orthodontist in Chicago.

Orthodontists are dentists who have received additional training. Their expertise includes correcting problems with teeth alignment. They usually work with a well-trained team of professionals with the goal of providing high-quality care to their patients.

When looking for an experienced orthodontist, you want to take the time to learn a little bit about their training. Simply ask if they are an orthodontist. The answer should be a clear yes. You want to know that you are receiving care from a provider who specializes in orthodontic care. You want to know that you are receiving treatment from providers who are committed, devoted, and driven to help you and your family address orthodontic issues.

When looking for an experienced orthodontist, there is nothing wrong with asking them where they went through their orthodontic residency program. This will give you the opportunity to know from where they received their knowledge base.

Your teeth are an important part of your appearance. Properly aligned teeth go a long way in improving your ability to eat and speak and improve the way you look. You want to know that your orthodontist is trained and equipped to handle your oral health issues in a professional, skillful, and caring manner. Fortunately, our orthodontists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics are extremely qualified and well-equipped to provide quality orthodontic care. Whether you’re interested in braces or some other type of orthodontic treatment, contact us today and book an appointment in Oak Lawn.

Get a Straighter Smile with Invisalign

December 11th, 2020

When you look at your reflection, there is one thing that bothers you. It’s your teeth. They’re healthy and strong. They shine. You’ve taken good care of them the way that you should, but they aren’t straight. There isn’t anything that you can do by yourself to have straighter teeth. The only way you can fix them is to go to an orthodontist to bring them into proper alignment. Invisalign is an exciting option that could help you to have the smile you always wanted. Best of all, no one will even notice that you are undergoing orthodontic treatment until they see the results.

How Does Invisalign Straighten Your Teeth?

Invisalign consists of plastic aligners that slide over your teeth. They are made of a clear plastic that is extremely durable. Thanks to the latest innovations in the field of orthodontics, your aligners will be customized for you as our orthodontists create your personalized treatment plan. You’ll wear your aligners for a set amount of time, allowing them to gradually shift your teeth into place.

What are the Advantages of Invisalign? 

Invisalign is a top pick for many teens and adults because the aligners are clear. It’s a discreet way to straighten your teeth. The plastic aligners are more comfortable than metal brackets and wires. You can remove them while you are brushing and flossing. If you have a sporting event or you are attending a special occasion, you can take out your aligners.

Is Invisalign for Everyone?

Invisalign will not be effective for every situation. Our orthodontists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics will be able to determine if it is a move in the right direction for you. The best thing you can do is come in for a consultation at our office in Oak Lawn to have an evaluation and learn more about your options regarding braces. Contact us today to book an appointment and get started!

When is the Right Time for My Kids to Get Braces?

December 11th, 2020

It’s not always easy to know when your child should get braces, especially if the front teeth appear straight. Generally, orthodontic treatment begins somewhere between nine and 14 years old. By this age, the child will have lost all of his or her primary teeth and have all of the adult teeth.

However, around age seven to eight, the child will have enough of the permanent teeth for the orthodontist to see if there will be future problems. This early diagnosis is very important because it will make treatment easier for the doctor and the patient. This should not be interpreted that all children need early treatment, but it allows the orthodontist to decide if your child could benefit from early intervention. Early orthodontic treatment may help prevent tooth extraction and influence the growth of the skeleton to avoid problems.

To decide whether your child should get braces, a detailed examination of the face, teeth and jaws is needed. In addition, x-rays and molds of teeth will be taken to provide the orthodontist with enough information to decide on a suitable plan for treatment.

There are several types of braces and some may be more suitable than others depending on the particular situation. Some of the most common ones in use are still metal braces. These are the type of braces most teenagers get and are often the quickest way to shift the teeth to the desired position. Metal brackets are fixed to the teeth with a metal wire threaded through the brackets that are tightened to apply pressure to the teeth.

When your child has an examination with our orthodontists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, you will learn more about the options as well as the right time for your child to get braces at our office in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to book an appointment and learn more.

Should My Teen Get Braces?

December 11th, 2020

Whether or not your teen should get braces will depend on a number of things. The first thing you should do is see the bite alignment. If your child has misalignment issues or crooked teeth, it’s most likely that your child can benefit from braces. If you feel that something is wrong, bring your teenager in to see our orthodontist.

Protruding teeth, overcrowding, overbite and underbite are the main problems that can be corrected by braces. Most dentists and orthodontists recommend your child have a first visit to an orthodontist when all of the baby teeth have grown in. Our specialists may be able to see how the adult teeth are positioned and determine if orthodontic treatment will be needed in the future. Only when it is time to install the braces do you need to decide which type are best-suited for your child’s teeth.

Your child’s first orthodontic appointment is an important one because it will set the tone for the ongoing treatments. You will be getting to know the orthodontist and the members of our team. You and your child should feel comfortable asking questions.

For your first appointment, the orthodontist will give you information about the treatment. You will need to fill out some paperwork on your child’s health history. Then the orthodontist will evaluate your child’s gums, teeth, jaw and bite, and X-rays and impressions may be taken. Notes will be taken on the extent of the orthodontic problems. From these notes, a treatment plan will be formulated for straightening your child’s teeth.

The orthodontist will also check for any signs of decay or other problems that should be fixed before orthodontic treatment begins. This will be discussed with you.

Orthodontic treatment is ideal during the teenage years as this is the time for quick growth and change, which makes it easier to shape their bite and smile. Braces can solve a number of oral health problems, including:

  • Gaps between teeth
  • Overbite
  • Open bite where some teeth cannot properly touch each other
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite where both the upper and lower teeth are misaligned

You can learn more during a consultation with our team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Contact us today to book an appointment for braces at our office in Oak Lawn!

Am I a Candidate for Adult Braces?

December 11th, 2020

It can be unhealthy when your teeth do not align properly, are overcrowded or have gaps. You may become self-conscious about smiling, but cosmetic problems are not the only issues you face. Crooked and missing teeth can lead to more serious issues such as gum loss and decay. Many adults may think they are too old to do anything about their teeth or bite, but that is not the case. Adult braces can remedy many of these issues. More and more adults in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond are considering braces to correct long-term problems with their teeth.

It is estimated that one in five patients who visit the orthodontist are over age 18. If you have problems with your bite or misaligned teeth, there are adult braces to take care of it. If you have large gaps, our orthodontists will create a customized plan that may correct the problem. Braces are the most effective way to move your teeth into their correct places. Straight teeth not only look better, but also are easier to clean than overcrowded and crooked teeth.

You may be a candidate for braces if you have any of the following bite problems:

  • Open bite when your bottom and top front teeth don’t meet properly
  • Crossbite when your top teeth don’t line up properly with your bottom teeth
  • Overbite when your top front teeth extend too far over your bottom front teeth
  • Overjet when your top front teeth stick out
  • Underbite when your bottom teeth are in front of your top teeth

Today, we are fortunate because there are so many choices, unlike in the past when your only choice was clunky metal braces. If you think you will look odd facing the public with metal braces, you can choose another type of adult braces.

This is where our orthodontists can help. During your first visit with our team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we can examine your teeth to determine your problem and decide which adult braces would be best for you. If you have lived most of your life unhappy and disappointed with your teeth because you never had braces as a child, it is not too late to fix it. Contact us today to schedule a braces consultation at our office in Oak Lawn!

Considering Teen Braces? You Have Options!

December 11th, 2020

Getting braces may not be high on your teen’s list of things they would like to do, but these days, there is a wide variety of braces from which to choose. Teenagers and adults no longer need to live with a mouth full of cumbersome metal braces for up to two years. Many of today’s options are nearly invisible and smaller in size. Below are a few of the teen braces that are available.


Invisalign® uses sets of clear plastic aligners that are custom-made and will straighten just like traditional braces. The big difference is because they are made of a transparent plastic, the aligners are practically invisible.

Another convenience with Invisalign® is they are removable. To get the full benefits, you need to wear them for a set amount of time per day, but they can be removed to floss and brush your teeth and eat, which means you can eat whatever you want. It will also be easy for your teen to maintain a normal routine of oral hygiene.

Ceramic Braces

The brackets on translucent ceramic braces are made of a ceramic material that blends in with the color of the teeth and is very strong and durable. The overall look is much cleaner than metal braces.

When you have a consultation with our specialists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, you can discuss the different types of teen braces and choose the best option. We are located in Oak Lawn, and our team is at the ready to help determine which braces are best for your unique case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Are Clear Braces Right for You?

December 11th, 2020

Are you thinking about braces? You know that orthodontic treatment is the only way that is a sure way to get your dream smile. Your teeth are sparkling white. They’re healthy, thanks to regular visits to the dentist. Now it’s time to bring them into alignment so that they are straight. Braces can help you to boost your confidence when your results are done, but you’re worried about how your teeth will look while treatment is underway. You don’t want everyone to notice metal brackets and wires every time you smile. Clear braces could be the solution to help you so you won’t feel self-conscious while your orthodontic treatment is underway.

Why Choose Clear Braces?

When you go with clear braces, they are much less noticeable. People may be surprised to find out that you are getting your teeth straightened. They’ll be amazed when they see the great results after your treatment is over. Clear braces can put your mind at ease. You may feel better about yourself when you don’t have braces that are obvious and visible.

You Have Choices

If you are thinking about clear braces, you have options. You can choose ceramic brackets that are clear. They work in the same way as metal brackets, but they don’t stand out. Clear aligners are another possible alternative. They are made from an extremely durable plastic that slides in over your teeth to help them to shift into the proper position. Because they are clear, they are practically invisible. Clear aligners offer a flexible option. They are removable. You can maintain your regular oral hygiene routine to keep your teeth healthy and strong. If you have a special event or you are involved in contact sports, you can take out your aligners.

The Advantages of Getting Braces

Braces will do more than straighten your teeth. They will bring your bite into alignment. This can help you to avoid serious problems like sleep apnea or TMJ disorders. Once your treatment is over, you can thank yourself every time you catch your smile in the mirror.

Talk to an Orthodontist to Learn More About Braces

Take charge of your teeth by making an appointment to come in and talk with your orthodontist. Your teeth can be examined and medical imagery can contribute to pinpointing your needs. Your orthodontist can then create your treatment plan. Don’t forget that braces are only temporary. Your new and improved smile can last for years to come.

If you are ready to take the next steps necessary for achieving a more beautiful smile, reach out to us here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. To learn more, contact us today and schedule your consultation!

Can Braces for Kids Really Make a Difference?

December 11th, 2020

Our teeth are remarkable structures that can sustain a great deal of pressure. When the primary or baby teeth grow in, they eventually fall out, giving rise to permanent teeth beginning at the ages of ten through twelve. Sometimes, these permanent teeth come in before the baby teeth have fallen out, making them crooked or overcrowded. If this is the case with your child, you may want to consider braces for kids.

Children should be evaluated by an orthodontist by around the age of seven, even if neither of their parents wore braces as children. The permanent teeth do not erupt until a few years later as the primary teeth fall out.

It is important to have teeth examined at this early age for misalignments that may show up as the permanent teeth grow in. With advances in radiology technology, orthodontists can see the adult teeth forming beneath the gum line before they erupt. This technology can give orthodontists and parents insight into the health and placement of their children’s permanent teeth. This insight can help you determine if braces for kids is an option for your child.

Early intervention in orthodontics, like many fields of medicine, is key. The ability to see problems with dental alignment, spatial abnormalities or problems with bite, can be caught and treated early. Discussions among parents, dentists, and orthodontics can be most valuable during the early stages.

Poor alignment of teeth can cause dental pain, speech problems, and headaches. With proper treatment and regular monitoring and adjustments, children can grow healthy straight teeth. Not only do the straight teeth improve their bite and chewing ability, the resulting beautiful smile will boost their confidence.

With so many orthodontic options to choose from depending on need, parents and children, along with our orthodontist, can choose the best option. It can be self-ligating metal braces, which work to efficiently move teeth. You can also choose self-ligating ceramic braces, which are nearly invisible. Invisible braces are another option that can be used as retainers or for mild misalignments. They are essentially invisible, but also removable for eating and are sometimes used for just part of the day.

Orthodontic care is essential for good oral health. They can make a big difference in your child’s oral health and their appearance. If you think your child needs braces for kids, contact us today! You can schedule your consultation with us at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics and discuss your options with one of our specialists at our office in Oak Lawn.

Braces for Adults: What are the Options?

December 11th, 2020

When braces come to mind, most people assume they are for teenagers. However, braces for adults are effective options when it comes to orthodontic treatment. While it is ideal to take care of issues with crowding, too much space, or a problem with a bite at a younger age, braces can be effective as people get older as well. Regardless of the reason that you need braces in your adulthood, this method of orthodontic treatment is highly effective. As an added benefit, you have many options to help you to get your teeth aligned in the proper position.

What are Your Options for Braces as an Adult? 

Braces for adults with metal wires and brackets are still one of the most common types of braces. Advances have been made that increase the effectiveness of braces, such as self-ligating brackets that will apply tension to the teeth to shift them more quickly than typical braces. There are also ceramic self-ligating braces that have brackets that are the same color as your teeth or clear to make your braces less noticeable.

You May Be a Candidate for Invisalign® 

Invisalign® is also an exciting option that could work for you. It is popular with patients of all ages because it is a practically invisible form of orthodontic correction. Clear aligners that are made from medical-grade plastic are customized to be an exact fit for your teeth. The aligners slide into place over your teeth. Every two weeks, you will return to the orthodontist for a new set of aligners that accommodates the way your teeth have moved. Your teeth will slowly shift into place, but others are not likely to notice that you are wearing aligners. You will need to wear them for at least 22 hours a day to experience the greatest success rate with this alternative for orthodontic treatment. It isn’t for everyone. Only our orthodontist will be able to determine if this option will be effective for you. Invisalign® aligners provide patients with more flexibility. The aligners can be removed during special occasions and when performing oral hygiene, making it easier to keep teeth clean.

Learn More About Braces for Adults

Our orthodontists are a valuable resource when it comes to adjusting your teeth. Make an appointment to come in for a consultation. Your visit will begin with an evaluation of your teeth. Once our orthodontists know what is going on in your mouth, it will be possible to create a treatment plan that is best for you. Ask about your options for braces as an adult to begin your journey to a beautiful smile at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Our orthodontists will get you on the right track to straight teeth. Contact us today to schedule your consultation at our office in Oak Lawn!

What to Consider When Getting Braces for Kids in Orland Park

December 11th, 2020

Orthodontic braces are supposed to fix misaligned teeth in children, teenagers, and adults. Before kids seek such treatment, they might need to undergo thorough medical and dental evaluation. There are some health conditions that could be exacerbated by traditional braces for kids or aligners. For example, an individual with asthma or another type of respiratory problem may struggle to breathe properly through a mouth that’s filled with metal hardware and other small parts. A child in Orland Park who already has speech difficulties can be adversely affected by orthodontic treatment. Therefore, some orthodontic treatment has to be delayed for a patient who isn’t fully ready to deal with the short-term and long-term consequences.

Parents shouldn’t always rush to send their young kids to an orthodontic practice. Conventional braces are typically not recommended for children under the age of ten. However, there are some steps that could be taken to prepare patients for the installation of braces for kids. An orthodontist can install spacers and other components inside the mouth of a child who seems to have an improper scattering of milk teeth. The installations are supposed to induce normal eruption of permanent teeth in the early teenage years. Dental space maintainers are highly recommended for kids who have premature loss of their baby teeth.

A space in the mouth is likely to disrupt the overall anatomy of an entire dental arch. Crowding of permanent teeth often occurs when the milk teeth fall out before an expected schedule. Kids are at high risk of getting their teeth knocked out while playing contact sports or doing other extreme activities. Parents should carefully monitor any facial and dental trauma in their children. A moderate injury to the jaw can significantly impact the future development of permanent teeth, gums, and other supporting anatomical structures. These are things to consider when choosing braces for kids.

When a child gets orthodontic braces for kids, he or she is expected to maintain proper oral hygiene. Failure to brush and floss the teeth on a daily basis could delay the treatment of misaligned or crooked teeth. In some cases, the hardware may need to be partially or fully removed to allow a dentist proper access to the enamel, pulp, and roots. Of course, neglect of oral care significantly increases the risk of cavities that require filling, root canals, and other treatment. Our orthodontists in Orland Park will strongly encourage parents to take kids for routine dental checkups and cleanings that will have positive impacts on the orthodontic process.

After getting their braces taken off, some stubborn kids might resist wearing retainers. These simple plastic appliances are supposed to maintain the integrity and rigidity of teeth that have been recently moved into new positions. Parents must reinforce the importance of retainers in the overall orthodontic treatment. Children who don’t wear retainers as prescribed might experience relapses that essentially nullify the gradual results that were provided by braces. It’s highly recommended that young orthodontic patients return for post-treatment checkups that monitor any degree of relapse.

Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we aim to give our patients confident smiles. We proudly serve clients in the Orland Park and Oak Lawn areas. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation.

Why Invisalign May Be the Right Orthodontic Treatment For You in Orland Park

December 11th, 2020

You want a beautiful smile. You have done everything possible to make your teeth look their best. You brush and floss twice a day. You visit your dentist faithfully every year for your annual exam. You see your dental hygienist twice a year as well. Your teeth are healthy, but that won’t solve your problem if you have an orthodontic concern. If your teeth aren’t straight, you have too much space, you’re dealing with crowding, or you have an issue with your bite, Invisalign® may be the right orthodontic treatment for you in Orland Park.

Whats the Story with Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is an exciting approach for orthodontic treatment that is popular for teens and adults. Clear aligners made from medical-grade plastic will be tailored to fit your mouth. They will slide over your teeth and gradually adjust them into the proper position. It will take time. You can expect your treatment to last about the same amount of time as traditional braces. Every two weeks, your aligners will be replaced with a new set as your teeth shift. Our orthodontists will monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments.

Why Choose Invisalign® Over Traditional Braces?

Invisalign® aligners are clear. You won’t even know they are there. The smooth plastic won’t irritate your gums or the inside of your mouth. You can take your aligners out when you have a sporting event or a special occasion. You will see your teeth gradually moving into position over the course of the treatment. You will finally be able to enjoy the beautiful smile of your dreams in Orland Park when Invisalign® is done doing its job.

Make an Appointment to Learn More About Invisalign®

Now is the time to act. Make an appointment with our orthodontists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics to talk about Invisalign®. Our orthodontists will talk to you about your problem areas with your teeth. The next step will be laying out all of your options. If our orthodontists feel that Invisalign® will get the best results, you will go through the process of getting your first set of aligners. Find out how to care for them and how long you will need to wait until you will have your dream smile. Contact us today to book an appointment at our office in Oak Lawn!

Clear Braces in Orland Park: Who is a Candidate?

December 11th, 2020

You know that you need braces in Orland Park. There is no other way to make your teeth look the way that they should. Crowding can make your teeth overlap or become crooked. Too much space can leave gaps. You may have issues with your bite that make your teeth shift out of alignment. Regardless of what your orthodontic concern is, braces are usually the best option. As you think about your orthodontic treatment plan, you may wonder if traditional braces that include metal brackets and wires are the only answer for you. Thanks to advances in the field of orthodontics, you could be a candidate for clear braces. 

Clear Braces Could Be Right for You

If you don’t want your braces to be that obvious, you can always go with clear braces. These braces are ceramic. They will be practically invisible. If you want a discreet form of orthodontic treatment that isn’t so obvious, think about going with clear, self-ligating braces. They can help you to feel more confident about your appearance as you wait for your teeth to gradually shift into the proper position. Once your teeth move, you will have that beautiful smile that you have always wanted. While it is true that braces will require time and patience, they will be worth it when you see the results. 

Transform Your Image

Clear braces can give you a new outlook on life when they give you an unforgettable smile. They will help you to have a major boost in confidence every time you look in the mirror once your treatment is over. You won’t avoid pictures or hide your teeth anymore once you have allowed clear braces to go to work. Clear braces can make you open doors to possibilities as you allow yourself to move forward in life. When you don’t let your teeth hold you back anymore, you will feel like a new person.

Learn More About Clear Braces in Orland Park

If you are thinking clear braces in Orland Park might be right for you, make an appointment with our orthodontists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. Our orthodontists will evaluate your teeth and tell you if clear braces will work for you. You will have a plan that is created so that you will have straight teeth. You will have the smile that will make you happy. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

The Benefits of Adult Braces in the Chicago Area

December 11th, 2020

If you sometimes regret that you didn’t get braces when you were a teenager and now that you’re older you think it’s too late to correct those crooked teeth, you are in luck. Adult braces are becoming more and more popular in Chicago and elsewhere for a number of reasons, and they may benefit you. Decades ago, braces meant being very self-conscious of a mouth full of shiny metal, but many of today’s braces are much more discreet and can hardly be seen.

Now, there are a number of discreet braces from which to choose, along with greatly improved metal braces that have been made smaller and less invasive. Clear braces function the same way as metal braces except for one big difference, which is they are virtually invisible. Clear glue is used on the teeth and the brackets are clear as well. Just like metal braces, a wire is adjusted to move the teeth.

Invisalign® is another popular method for treating orthodontic issues that use trays individually designed for your mouth. Usually, a set of trays will last for multiple weeks, and then they are changed for a new set. It is not uncommon to see remarkable changes in the teeth after using only a few trays. Invisalign® adult braces are made out of food-grade plastic and are kept in the mouth for approximately 22 hours a day. One big advantage of Invisalign® is that the trays are removable when you want to eat or clean your teeth so that food particles do not get stuck.

Another important benefit of adult braces is reducing the wear and tear that takes place when teeth do not fit together correctly. Teeth can break or wear at the gum line, which then can require costly restorations. Teeth that are crowded or not aligned properly also place undue stress on the jaw.

Having straight teeth has a number of benefits to go along with the improved smile. Bacteria, plaque and impacted food particles contribute to dental decay and gum disease. Straight teeth will reduce the amount of plaque that sticks to the crevices in your mouth.

If you have been looking into your options regarding adult braces in the Chicago area, make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn about your treatment options!

Are Clear Braces Right for Me?

December 11th, 2020

How Are Clear Braces Different from Traditional Braces?

Since they are bonded directly to the front surface of permanent teeth, conventional orthodontic braces are quite conspicuous. Some people might simply want to avoid noticeable metallic hardware inside the mouth. Aluminum, stainless steel and titanium are some common materials that make up the bulk of classic braces. These heavy-duty installations are rigid, durable, resistant to corrosion and other types of damages. The fundamental goal of traditional braces is to exert and maintain pressure on misaligned teeth. Also installed directly on enamel, clear braces are designed to serve the same exact purpose in terms of correcting a malocclusion. However, there are some major aesthetic and structural differences between clear braces and conventional braces.

Made from some type of composite material that’s virtually transparent, clear brackets have tremendous cosmetic appeal. These appliances are usually paired with arch wires that also have a relatively inconspicuous finish. Some clear braces actually have a texture that mimics the color of enamel. Although they aren’t technically clear, they simply blend in nicely with the teeth. Due to limitations in mechanical properties, ceramic and composite braces are only efficient in correcting mild and moderate forms of bad bites.

Overview on Clear Aligners

Orthodontic patients don’t necessarily need to have any hardware directly bonded to teeth with an ultra-strong dental cement. Fortunately, there are removable appliances that could align teeth into desirable positions. Transparent aligners are very popular among teenagers and adults who might feel some social pressure regarding physical appearance, oral hygiene and other behavior. For instance, classic braces can make it more difficult to speak, brush teeth and play sports. Clear aligners give patients the flexibility to live functional and happy lives without constantly being bothered by hardware on teeth. However, it’s important to realize that such cosmetic alternatives have to be worn for most of the day. The severity of a malocclusion ultimately dictates the wearing schedule for a patient. An individual who suffers from moderate crowding of the teeth is advised to wear a clear aligner for approximately 20 hours a day.

Which Clear Aligners Should You Get?

There are several popular brands of transparent aligners that utilize state-of-the-art technology. Invisalign® is a brand that has surely been a pioneer in this specific niche of orthodontics. In fact, Invisalign® is still the most trusted brand of clear aligners on the market today. If you are not qualified for aligners, however, you can still benefit from clear braces.

Our orthodontist will take precise scans of the patient’s upper and lower dental arches. The renderings are then utilized by lab technicians to manufacture multiple moldings that are integrated into a custom treatment plan. On average, a person will need to wear between 15 and 20 different clear aligners in order to successfully complete treatment for a bad bite. Additionally, it’s imperative to wear a proper retainer to maintain the integrity of a newly adjusted bite.

If you are interested in learning more about clear braces, you can learn more about the benefits of this option at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation!

Invisalign for Men and Women in the Orland Park Area

December 11th, 2020

Invisalign® aligners have revolutionized the dental care industry, and more patients than ever are now using these trays to create beautiful and healthy smiles. Patients who dislike the idea of uncomfortable metal braces might enjoy the many benefits of aligners. In as little as a few months, these aligners will pull your teeth into the correct position so that you can once again smile with confidence. Here is a closer look at how these devices work and why you might want to choose Invisalign® over self-ligating metal braces at our office in the Orland Park area.

The Disadvantages of Braces

Metal braces have been used for decades to treat a variety of oral health problems. While they are very effective for many patients, they also have some noticeable drawbacks. After the metal braces are installed, patients must be very careful about what they eat and chew on. Anything hard or gummy could dislodge or crack the brackets.

Patients also need to schedule appointments every few weeks to have the braces tightened. In between visits to our office, patients must carefully brush and floss their teeth with special devices to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. With the Invisalign® system, you can avoid many of these unwanted side effects.

A Look at Invisalign®

This orthodontic treatment uses clear trays to gently guide teeth into the correct alignment. Every single tray is made custom for the patient, and that makes them quite comfortable to wear throughout the day. Every few weeks, the patient will replace their old trays with a new set to continue applying pressure on their teeth. During a patient’s first appointment, our specialists will use an advanced imaging device to completely map their mouth. We can also use software to show the patient what their teeth will look like once the treatment is complete.

The Benefits of Clear Orthodontic Trays

Invisalign® aligners should be worn for at least 22 hours a day, but you can take them out any time you would like. You will be able to eat all your favorite foods and drink your favorite beverages during this process. Many patients claim that they completely forget they are wearing aligners after the first few days. Each Invisalign® tray is made from clear plastic that is resistant to cracks, chips and stains. That means you won’t have to worry about constantly cleaning or adjusting your aligners every morning and night.

Ideal Candidates

Men and women from Orland Park and the surrounding communities no longer need to feel embarrassed whenever they smile, eat or speak. These aligners are the perfect option for teenagers and adults who would like to realign their teeth without uncomfortable metal braces. During your first appointment with our dental team, you will learn more about some of the pros and cons of this technology.

If you are looking for orthodontic treatment like Invisalign® or braces in Oak Lawn, Orland Park or the surrounding area, we can provide you with the best treatment plan for your needs at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment and learn more!

Braces for Kids Near Orland Park

December 11th, 2020

Orthodontic problems may begin right from the day a child’s first teeth erupt. This is why it is recommended for children to visit the dentist early, and if any problems seem to be developing, the dentist will refer the parents to an orthodontist. Children who receive orthodontic care at the right time may have few, if any, orthodontic problems later in life. If you live in Orland Park or the surrounding area, you can choose from several types of braces for kids at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics.

There are a number of reasons why kids need braces. The most common reasons are crooked teeth, overcrowded teeth, overbite and underbite. These problems may be caused by early thumb sucking, accidents or missing teeth, but the most commonplace cause is heredity. Just because your dentist recommends an orthodontist, it doesn’t mean your child will be getting braces immediately. Some children don’t mind getting braces and think a mouth full of metal is cool. Others want to avoid the metal mouth smile and opt for more discreet methods of getting their teeth straightened.

New technology has made metal braces smaller than decades past. Metal braces come with dietary restrictions because eating hard or sticky food can break the brackets and wires. Today, your child has a choice of tooth-colored braces for kids that are very discreet.

For example, clear ceramic braces have clear brackets. Ceramic braces may also be tooth-colored. They treat orthodontic problems the same way metal braces do. The thin wires may be slightly visible, but they are much less visible than metal braces.

If your child needs braces in Orland Park, it is best to find out when they are young. Some orthodontic issues are easier to correct if the treatment starts early and more serious problems can be prevented. We typically recommend that you visit our orthodontist when your child’s first primary teeth start to fall out.

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, we proudly offer braces for kids, as well as braces for teens and adults. We happily serve clients in Orland Park and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about braces for kids.

Getting Braces in Oak Lawn

December 11th, 2020

Our orthodontists in Oak Lawn are able to correct a variety of problems with the alignment of teeth. Teenagers and young adults are the ideal candidates for conventional braces. Children might need to wait until some of their primary teeth fall out and make way for permanent teeth. Some of the most common issues that are resolved by orthodontic treatment include overbite, underbite, crossbite and crowding. Excessive spacing between consecutive teeth is another irregularity that could be corrected with classic braces. Even if there aren’t any crooked teeth involved, a misalignment of the dental arches requires some type of orthodontic interference.

Components of Braces 

Made of durable metal, small brackets are perhaps the most prominent parts of traditional orthodontic braces. A special type of cement material is carefully applied over every tooth that’s supposed to be manipulated and moved. Once all of the brackets are in place, they are connected to each other by a thin arch wire that also has a metal composition. Additionally, a metallic tie secures the wire around the corners and edges of the brackets. All metal hardware that’s installed in the mouth has a rust-resistant design. Rubber usually makes up the elastic bands that connect upper and lower teeth. Various types of hooks, ligatures and coil springs might also have to be installed to facilitate the mechanics of orthodontic treatment.

Brackets are also available at our office in Oak Lawn in ceramic, which is an attractive material for patients who are very concerned about the cosmetic aspects of treatment. Ceramic can be manufactured in a finish that mimics the natural color of enamel. Generally speaking, moderate cases of malocclusion might be properly corrected with ceramic braces.

Routine Visits to the Orthodontist 

Once braces are properly set up, a patient will need to return for regular follow-up appointments. During the visit, most of the hardware will be calibrated in order to induce the shifting of teeth and other attached anatomical structures, including the gum and jaw tissues.

Talk to Our Team

Make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, to get all the facts about braces. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started on your journey to a beautiful, healthy smile!

Invisalign for Your Teen

December 11th, 2020

Invisalign® is a brand name of an orthodontic appliance that is designed to treat malocclusion. Crowding of the teeth is one of the most common types of malocclusion. Overbites and underbites are some other problems that can be solved with this patented mouthpiece. In general, Invisalign® technology is engineered to correct mild to moderate misalignment of teeth in teenagers and adults.

Technical Overview of Invisalign®

An orthodontic aligner that carries the Invisalign® label is composed of a unique material that’s called SmartTrack. This is a type of plastic that has been engineered to have properties that are optimized for orthodontic application. First of all, the SmartTrack material is virtually transparent and invisible. This device also has a lightweight design that causes minimal irritation and discomfort inside the mouth. Another patented technology that’s used to manipulate the clear aligner is called SmartForce. Our skilled orthodontists know the most effective methods to manipulate the positions of teeth through pressure that’s exerted by an invisible aligner.

Initial Phases of Treatment

Before a patient can begin an orthodontic treatment plan that involves a clear aligner, some basic diagnostic procedures have to be done. Traditional X-rays precisely reveal the positions of teeth and roots relative to each other. Such images can also indicate the need for extractions of canines or molars that create crowding and other complications inside the mouth.

The trademark iTero® scanning technology is also used to analyze a patient’s teeth that are ready to be moved by clear aligners. This sophisticated scanner essentially generates 3D views of a person’s mouth. Along with the physical bite impressions, digital images are then used to define the parameters and specifications of custom moldings for the aligners. 

Final Stages of Invisalign®

Once the teeth are moved into new desirable positions, there’s no longer a need to wear a clear aligner. However, a signature retainer must be worn daily in order to lower the risk of a relapse. This is a removable mouthpiece that’s designed to exert a certain amount of pressure and tension on the teeth and the surrounding gums. The retainer has been exclusively engineered to be compatible with the Invisalign® technology.

One of our experienced orthodontists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics can provide instructions on Invisalign® and how it might work for you or your teen during a consultation at our office in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and get started.

Advantages of Getting Invisalign vs Braces

December 11th, 2020

Are you among the many individuals who would like to improve your smile, but you don’t want to endure the things that are associated with traditional braces? If so, you should look at the advantages of getting Invisalign® over braces. When it comes down to Invisalign® vs braces, Invisalign® provides a number of advantages that may allow you to get your teeth straightened without the issues associated with the presence of braces.

One of the things people often dislike about traditional braces is the appearance of the braces themselves. They have the idea that a mouthful of metal is the first thing others see when they smile or speak. If you have been hesitant to get your teeth straightened for this reason, you should ask our orthodontists about the use of the Invisalign® system.

Invisalign® utilizes clear aligners that fit over the teeth. As far as the appearance is concerned, they do not stand out the way metal braces do. In fact, most other people will not even notice them. You can talk or smile with confidence. Therefore, if the way braces make you look is holding you back, you will definitely see an advantage in getting Invisalign® vs braces.

Another advantage associated with the use of Invisalign® is the ability to remove the aligners when necessary. They can be taken out for cleaning and for brushing and flossing of the teeth. While this may seem like a simple thing, it can make your daily oral hygiene activities much easier than trying to work around braces to brush your teeth.

Individuals with metal braces often find that it is difficult to eat certain foods. Those items that tend to be sticky can get stuck to the braces. Likewise, foods like corn on the cob can be harder to eat with braces as well. These issues go away with Invisalign®. First, the aligners are much smoother, and food will not stick to them like it will traditional braces. Secondly, they can be removed, if necessary, while eating these types of foods.

If you opt for Invisalign® over braces, you will not need to visit our office as frequently as you will if you choose braces. With braces, our orthodontists must adjust the tension at regular intervals in order to keep the teeth moving in the right direction. With Invisalign®, you will simply receive another aligner on a regular basis to replace the previous one. These aligners are customized for you to keep the progress going.

The best way to learn more about Invisalign® vs braces is to schedule an appointment with our orthodontists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. You may find that you can improve your smile in a way that is easier to live with than you first thought. Invisalign® has become increasingly popular in recent years for this reason. Contact us today to book an initial consultation!

Choosing the Right Orthodontist

December 11th, 2020

Before seeking orthodontic solutions, you are probably wondering what orthodontist in your area is likely to give you the best results. If you are looking for a reliable, talented and experienced orthodontist, look no further than our team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics!

When is the Right Time to Visit an Orthodontist?

Teenagers account for the largest percentage of orthodontic patients in North America and most nations. The jaw, gums and teeth are relatively flexible and elastic during this stage of life. With time, most anatomical features in the mouth become rigid. Nevertheless, adults with mild or moderate malocclusion can still be good candidates for a custom orthodontic solution at our office.

Children under the age of 10 can begin wearing some orthodontic appliances that break bad habits, such as sucking of thumbs or other objects. For example, a palatal crib prevents kids from developing a severe or moderate bad bite. Full-scale orthodontic treatment can only begin when a child has all of the permanent teeth. 

What Types of Braces are Available?

Our experienced orthodontists are skilled enough to install various types of braces, like self-ligating braces. Patients who want more aesthetically pleasing orthodontic solutions should consider ceramic self-ligating braces or clear braces, which blend better. Clear aligners like Invisalign® are popular alternatives to braces that have to be bonded to teeth. These orthodontic appliances are composed of a medical-grade plastic that is transparent. A patient simply needs to switch to a new aligner regularly. This mouthpiece can be conveniently removed, washed and stored as needed. However, a clear aligner must be worn for most of the day and night in order to deliver optimum results.

What Happens After Treatment?

People who have worn braces or clear aligners are still at risk of developing a relapse. It might take a few years for the newly positioned teeth to gradually settle down. A retainer has to be worn to keep the teeth in the desirable positions. This is usually a removable mouthpiece.

If you are interested in braces or some other type of orthodontic correction, make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with our orthodontist!

Braces for Adults: Is It Too Late?

December 11th, 2020

Despite the stereotype of braces being just for teenagers, braces for adults are becoming more and more popular. In fact, many orthodontists have noticed that they are getting an increasing number of adult patients. At least some of these are people whose parents couldn’t afford to get them braces when they were children.

While age is not a factor in determining somebody’s candidacy for braces, dental health is. People with gum disease, receding gums or bone loss in their jaw bones are typically not good candidates for braces. Since patients typically have to wear braces for years, it’s best to take care of any dental problems before getting them.

People with allergies to nickel, latex or any other material found in braces should tell our orthodontists. Our team will be able to find an alternative product that doesn’t contain the allergen. Also, people can develop new allergies any time. A patient who has suddenly developed a lot of mouth sores, hives or upper respiratory symptoms should also talk to our orthodontist.

Some types of braces for adults are more discreet than others. The best type for you will depend on a variety of factors, including your oral health and the length of time you are willing to undergo treatment, among other considerations.

The average treatment time for an adult is about two years. While there are methods for accelerating tooth movement, the patient should think long and hard before selecting them. Certain techniques, for example, can straighten a patient’s teeth in less time, but they may require jaw surgery.

Invisalign® is a type of braces for adults that uses clear aligner trays to straighten the teeth. This form of treatment has become quite popular because of the following advantages:

  • They are made of clear plastic and are, hence, less noticeable than many types of braces for adults
  • They are removable, so a patient can eat what they like and take out the aligners for special occasions
  • It is easier for a patient to brush and floss their teeth

The trays are custom-made, and the patient has to get a new set every two weeks. Like braces, Invisalign® puts pressure on the teeth and subtly forces them to move into proper alignment.

While Invisalign® works for many orthodontic problems like gaps, crooked teeth or minor overbites, traditional braces work better for more severe problems. During your initial consultation at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, you can learn more about your options regarding braces for adults. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and get started!

A Closer Look at Invisalign for Adults

December 11th, 2020

Introduction to Invisalign® Technology

Invisalign® is a proprietary brand of orthodontic clear aligners that are typically prescribed to teenagers and adults who have crooked or misaligned teeth. These innovative devices were initially introduced to the American market in the 1990s, and they have been fully approved by the FDA. Having a nearly invisible texture, these mouthpieces are made of SmartTrack, which is a thermoplastic material that has been specifically engineered to have unique properties for orthodontic application. Synthetic polyurethane and copolyester define the chemical composition of Invisalign. These materials are lightweight yet strong enough to apply pressure to teeth that have to be gradually moved. Invisalign® for adults can provide professionals with the opportunity to improve their smile easily and discreetly.

Early Stages of Treatment

Adults who have mild to moderate malocclusion may be good candidates for Invisalign® for adults. The simplest cases of teeth crowding and spacing can usually be successfully treated by these orthodontic appliances. Our orthodontist may need to take physical bite impressions of patients in order to determine the severity of a malocclusion. A patient simply needs to bite and hold a tray that’s filled with a gel-like material, which quickly dries up and hardens within a few minutes. To get a more precise profile of a patient’s teeth, we also use the patented iTero™ scanner. This cutting-edge technology generates 3-D images in a virtual software suite that can be viewed on a computer, tablet or even smartphone.

Patients need to switch to new clear aligners at least once per week. Follow-up visits should also be done to ensure that the devices exert the right amount of horizontal, vertical, torsional and rotational force on specific teeth. More than a dozen different Invisalign® pieces might have to be worn in order to correct a typical case of a bad bite, crowding or spacing.

Advantages of Invisalign® for Adults Over Braces

Many orthodontic adult patients choose clear aligners for their aesthetic appeal. These invisible mouthpieces aren’t as obvious as classic metal braces that are bonded to the front surfaces of teeth. The transparent aligners can also be removed before eating and brushing. However, they must be worn for at least 20 hours per day in order to get the proper effects. Additionally, Invisalign® must be occasionally washed and cleaned to prevent staining and other forms of discoloration. Clear aligners cause very little irritation to the gums, tongue and cheeks. By contrast, conventional brackets, arch wires, bands and other metal hardware can create cuts and other minor trauma inside the mouth.

What Happens After Treatment?

Once an adult patient successfully completes Invisalign® treatment, he or she will have to wear a custom retainer. If it is determined that Invisalign® for adults is the right treatment for you, we can help you learn more about what to expect at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Contact us today to learn more about orthodontic treatment options such as Invisalign® and braces in Oak Lawn.

Does My Child Need Braces for Kids?

December 11th, 2020

A malocclusion is a condition that refers to the improper formation of teeth. Our orthodontists can determine the likelihood of a young patient developing some type of bad bite, crowding and other issues with the alignment of the teeth. Our experts are trained to predict the formation of jaw structure and gums that ultimately influences the eruption of permanent teeth. From there, they can review all of the options regarding braces for kids.

When is the Right Time for Kids to Get Braces?

Young children who still have milk teeth are usually not good candidates for orthodontic treatment. Braces are typically installed only on permanent teeth that have fully erupted. However, our orthodontists might be able to analyze the eruption of teeth that are likely to be classified as a malocclusion case. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to manipulate the formation of jaw bones and other tissues in the mouth. It’s also difficult to manipulate the positions of teeth buds that are found deep in the gums. Fortunately, braces for kids exist to correct the problems that can occur after the adult teeth have come in.

Initial Stages of Braces

Before orthodontic braces can be installed on the teeth of a child, some extractions might have to be done. For example, crowding can only be fixed once some teeth are removed in order to create enough space for other teeth. Canines and premolars are usually extracted before braces are set up on incisors and molars. Brackets, arch wires, coil springs and ligaments are the most common components of braces. These small, metallic parts exert enough tension and force to gradually move permanent teeth into desirable positions.

Types of Braces for Kids

During a consultation at our office, you can learn about the different types of braces for kids. Many kids like being able to customize their treatment based on their personality. For example, your child can choose which color they desire. This helps to make orthodontic treatment fun for the child.

Other children may desire a more discreet option. The braces for kids can be made in such a way that minimizes appearance, making them blend in more with the rest of the teeth.

To get all the facts about braces for kids, including whether or not your child needs braces in the first place, make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation!

What is an iTero Scanner?

December 11th, 2020

The iTero® scanner is a device that is used by dentists and orthodontists to map out the mouth in preparation for improvements in the bite and smile. In order to do these things, information is needed that indicates the exact position and location of the teeth and gums. This is typically done by making impressions of the teeth. Without these impressions, it would not be possible to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

The iTero® scanner works by using digital technology to come up with a 3D diagram of the mouth. It uses hundreds of focal points to come up with measurements in nearly every way imaginable. This basically becomes the blueprint by which the orthodontic product will be made. The scan is much more precise than what could be achieved with traditional impressions.

If you are a patient, you will appreciate the speed at which the iTero® scanner works. All the information necessary to develop the map of the mouth can be gathered in just a few minutes. As a result, you will spend much less time in the chair than you would with the traditional method.

The traditional way of making impressions involves the use of a liquid plaster product for making a mold of the teeth and gums. In order to do this, metal plates are placed in the mouth on the insides of both the upper and lower jaws. The liquid solution is then used to surround the teeth. The patient must sit until the solution becomes an elastic-like solid material. The mold that is formed through this process is then sent to the lab, which will make the final product.

The plaster that is used for traditional impressions makes a mess and, consequently, can be aggravating to the patient. Additionally, some of the solution can run down the throat and cause gagging. From start to finish, making dental impressions the old-fashioned way is a much lengthier and more tedious process than the quick and easy iTero® scanner.

The information gathered from the scanner is saved as a digital file on a computer. It is also electronically sent to the lab that will be making the products. Since the transmission can take place in nearly an instant, time is saved. It is not necessary to physically ship molds. These images are much more precise than what is achievable otherwise. This also benefits the patient because the end products fit much better.

If you have been dreading getting molds made for a product like Invisalign®, you can rest assured that the process will be fast and comfortable with the iTero® scanner. Patients looking to receive braces in Oak Lawn can find exceptional orthodontic treatment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Whether you are looking for braces, aligners or retainers, you will without a doubt find the iTero® scanner to be a dramatic improvement over the traditional method. We are conveniently located in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule an orthodontic appointment!

The Benefits of Invisalign for Teens

December 11th, 2020

As parents, when we look at our teenagers and realize that they need some dental correction, we are interested in seeing if there’s anything that we can do to spare our children some of the frustration that we felt as we were wearing braces. Thankfully, there is, and it comes in the form of Invisalign® for teens.

Invisalign® is an awesome way to straighten the teeth without using metal brackets. Instead, Invisalign® for teens is made up of removable aligners that are transparent. Your teenager is able to wear the aligner for two weeks and then get a new set of aligners. Little by little, the teeth move back into the correct position, giving your teenager an attractive and healthy smile.

A question that parents often ask is whether or not Invisalign® aligners are just as effective as traditional braces. The answer is yes, as long as the issue that your child has is one that can be corrected by Invisalign®. Invisalign® for teens is extremely effective when it comes to dealing with some of the more common teeth straightening issues.

Our orthodontists may use Invisalign® if your child has teeth that are crowding or if they have gaps in their teeth. The best way to find out for sure if this product is right for your teenager is to talk to our orthodontists during a consultation.

Since the Invisalign® aligners are removable, your teenager will be able to eat whatever they want using their natural teeth. Brushing their teeth and flossing stays the same. Your child can continue to play musical instruments, they can play sports and they can do a whole list of things that they would not be able to do if they had metal braces.

When it comes to the treatment time, treating the teeth with Invisalign® takes just about the same amount of time that it would with traditional braces. Of course, the length of time your teenager will need to use Invisalign® is going to vary depending on the condition that they have.

To learn more about Invisalign® for teens, including all of the benefits, make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Located in Oak Lawn, we want to help your entire family achieve healthy, beautiful smiles, whether it be through braces, Invisalign® or some other type of correction. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn more!

Tips for Keeping Clear Braces Clean

December 11th, 2020

When you found out that you were going to need braces, you may have first wondered how long you would need them. Most people, children and adults alike, will have braces for anywhere between six months to two years or more. Clear braces, also known as ceramic braces, can provide you with an orthodontic option that isn’t quite as noticeable as traditional braces. No matter which type of braces you choose, you’re probably excited to get them taken off. However, if you don’t properly clean your teeth while wearing braces, you could end up with preventable dental problems once they’re finally removed.

This is because it’s a lot harder to brush your teeth with braces on. It’s very easy for food to get stuck inside of your braces, leading to the growth of plaque. While most people are accustomed to brushing their teeth every day, you’ll have to be especially diligent about it with both traditional and clear braces.

The first thing you should do even before you brush your teeth is rinsing your mouth out with water. This will flush out some of the food that might have been stuck in and around your braces. When it comes time to brush your teeth, start by using the right toothpaste. You should use a toothpaste that has been approved by the American Dental Association. It should have fluoride in it.

Proper teeth brushing techniques with braces begin with you brushing at the gumline. The toothbrush should sit right above the brackets, and the brush should be angled down. Clean off the top of your braces. Then, do the same thing in reverse to clean off the bottom brackets.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they brush their teeth with braces on is trying to rush through the job. You need to take your time and make sure that every single one of your brackets gets cleaned. You also want to make sure that you are removing debris from the teeth’s surface. This is especially important with clear braces, as the goal of these braces is to make your orthodontic treatment less conspicuous. Keeping food and debris out of your braces will help ensure they stay clear.

Everyone needs to floss to keep their teeth healthy. This is especially important when you wear braces. Flossing is made a lot easier when you use a floss threader. If you’re ever unsure about the best ways to floss, you can talk to our orthodontist about your options during any of your appointments.

Once you’ve brushed and flossed, you should rinse your mouth out with a mouthwash. This is an extra step that you can take to prevent cavity growth.

Brushing your teeth with braces on is a lot more challenging, but taking the time to do it right is more than worth it. Remember, you are only going to have your braces for a couple of years. If you do a good job of keeping your teeth clean when you have braces, you'll be able to avoid future dental issues when they are removed.

We offer many different options for orthodontic treatment at the office of Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Clear braces offer many benefits, but they require just as much care as traditional braces. If you are looking to get braces in Oak Lawn, contact us today to schedule your first appointment.

Braces vs Invisalign

December 11th, 2020

If you walk up to our orthodontists and ask if braces are better than Invisalign®, it’s likely that you are not going to get a straight answer. This is because there are a lot of factors that our orthodontists will take into consideration when determining whether braces vs Invisalign® should be used. At the end of the day, our goal is to provide you with the appliance that is going to provide the best results for you.

Both braces and Invisalign® have been designed to accomplish the same goal. Their goal is to straighten your teeth, give you a better smile and give you better overall health. While metal braces with brackets have been around for some time, Invisalign® has been in use since the mid-2000s. So, Invisalign® does not have the same storied history behind it as metal braces.

Metal braces work in a way that most people are familiar with. They are metal brackets that are glued to your teeth. Wires and clips are used to connect the brackets to each other. A few years ago, the only option for brackets was metal, but now there is a little bit of flexibility. You might be able to choose some brackets that have a color that is closer to the enamel of your teeth. Some people have opted to get wild-colored brackets that really allow them to make a drastic fashion statement with their teeth.

Invisalign® is just the opposite. It is made for discretion. As opposed to being made of metal, the aligners are made from a BPA-free clear plastic. They are designed to be worn over your teeth, and they move your teeth in a very subtle way. The aligners are not permanent. You will change them out every couple of weeks in harmony with the directions from our orthodontists.

When it comes down to braces vs Invisalign®, they will both straighten your teeth. Both metal braces and Invisalign® will require you to use some form of retainer after your teeth have been straightened. Metal braces have the benefit of not requiring self-discipline on the part of the user. Conversely, with Invisalign®, you have the option to take them out whenever you want, and so it could be easy to not be as strict with the treatment program as you should be.

If you have questions about braces vs Invisalign® and which treatment may be best for you, talk to the team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more information!

Common Reasons to Visit an Orthodontist

December 11th, 2020

There are a wide range of reasons why people visit the orthodontist. Most adults choose to undergo orthodontic treatment because there is something wrong with the aesthetics of their teeth. There are some medical benefits that apply to adults and younger patients alike that can also come from visiting the orthodontist.

It is recommended that children between the age of six and 12 years old visit an orthodontist in order to have preventative measures taken. It is better to prevent certain dental diseases than it is to treat them. The earlier a patient is aware of dental problems, the quicker and easier it will be for them to take steps to protect their teeth in the future.

Patients can receive orthodontic treatment to correct an abnormal bite. When a person’s bite is normal, their upper teeth would slightly overlap their lower teeth. The space between the overlap of the upper and lower teeth will be between one and two mm. If the overlap is a lot more, then there is something abnormal about the bite and should be corrected. In addition to affecting a person when they chew and speak, an abnormal bite can lead to a whole host of other problems.

Another reason why people visit the orthodontist is because the space in between their teeth is not even, which can lead to teeth that are either spaced too far apart or crowded together. The issues with crowded teeth aren’t just aesthetic. There are other issues that having crowded teeth can cause. For example, crowded teeth can make it a lot harder for them to properly floss their teeth and keep up with their general dental hygiene routine.

Parents may take their children to an orthodontist because they have some bad habits that are affecting their teeth. For example, if a child continues to suck their thumb after their teeth have come in, it can have a devastating effect on the structure of their teeth. It can cause their teeth to become misaligned, which will not only affect the child cosmetically but will also affect their ability to eat.

When a person has an abnormal tooth structure, it can affect their ability to speak properly. Some people will visit an orthodontist to help them address a lisp or other speech impediments.

Many orthodontic visits are simply preventative. People visit an orthodontist because they want to avoid tooth decay and gum disease. When a person’s teeth are misaligned, the problems that they have with their gums and teeth become exacerbated. When fixed with proper orthodontic treatment, a lot of the problems that lead to people losing their teeth later on in life can be prevented.

The importance of proper orthodontic care cannot be overstated. All orthodontists are dentists, yet not all dentists have received the training needed to be an orthodontist. At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, our orthodontists have the training and expertise needed to provide you with the care you need. If you are seeking advice or orthodontic treatment with braces in the Oak Lawn area, contact us today!

Invisalign for Teens

December 11th, 2020

Invisalign® is an orthodontic treatment that can fix several orthodontic problems. It is different from other treatments in that it uses clear, plastic aligners that fit over the teeth like a mouth guard rather than brackets, wires and elastic bands. The program is custom-made in advance by our trained technicians and a new aligner is used every two weeks. Gradually, the teeth are shifted into the right position. One of the main benefits is that the aligners are practically invisible. This makes them a great option for teenagers and adults who are concerned about their appearance. If you are interested in learning more information about Invisalign® for teens, please feel free to schedule a consultation at our office.

Invisalign® offers many advantages for teenagers over traditional braces, starting with cleanliness. It is very important to keep your teeth clean during the months or years you wear braces. Traditional braces are very difficult to clean and may take a lot of time to achieve the required hygiene. Without proper cleaning, the braces can weaken the tooth enamel and cause decay. Once these issues develop, they cannot be reversed.

With Invisalign®, this is not a problem because the aligners are removed for eating and cleaning. This means there are no food restrictions and the teeth can be brushed and flossed as usual. The aligner also needs to be cleaned before being replaced in the mouth.

Another advantage of Invisalign® for teens is the number of hours per day the aligners need to be worn. The treatment is most effective when the aligners are worn 20 to 22 hours every day. This means teenagers can take out the aligner for a special event, such a prom. Our orthodontists can track how many hours the aligner is worn.

During a consultation with our orthodontists, your teenager’s teeth, gums and jaw will be examined and the issues evaluated. If Invisalign® is a suitable treatment, you and your teenager can discuss the process, as well as the amount of time the treatment may take. When worn according to the instructions, Invisalign® is as effective as traditional braces for treating crooked and crowded teeth, overbite, underbite and gaps between teeth. The length of time the treatment will take to achieve the desired results will depend on the orthodontic issues of your teenager.

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, we are proud to offer Invisalign® for teens in addition to metal braces, ceramic braces, and more. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more.

What to Consider When Getting Braces

December 11th, 2020

Nobody says they want braces, but they are the solution when you want a beautiful smile. Orthodontic treatment can do more than give you a set of attractive teeth. Braces can help you avoid serious health problems later on, such as sleep apnea and TMJ disorders. You’ll find that it is much easier to keep your teeth clean when they have been shifted into the proper position. Before you think about getting braces, make sure that you are prepared for the journey.

You Have Options

Gone are the days when you only had one choice for orthodontic correction. In the past, metal braces and brackets would be the only option. While metal self-ligating braces are still among the most popular options for braces, you can also choose ceramic braces and clear aligners. The door is wide open to help you get that dazzling smile. Don’t assume that you have only one path when getting braces to help you get the smile that you have always wanted.

Your Smile Will Be Worth the Wait 

When it comes to getting braces, it is a waiting game. Years ago, you could have expected four years before you could get those braces off of your teeth. Thanks to advances in orthodontics, you can expect your treatment time to be shorter. Enhanced medical imagery can ensure that your teeth are getting the proper fit when it comes to orthodontic correction. Every patient is unique, and your treatment plan will depend on you. The main thing you need to remember is that you can have a beautiful set of teeth. With the proper treatment plan, your goals are in sight.

Our Orthodontists are Your Partners in Creating a Healthy, Beautiful Smile

Enlist the aid of our trusted orthodontist, and you will find your way to a smile that will make you happy. Even though you may have to go through some inconveniences, braces will give you a return that is worth it. We will always strive to work closely with you as your progress is carefully monitored to ensure that your treatment plan is producing positive results. When you have the right treatment plan and the skilled assistance of our orthodontist, you will enhance your smile.

Talk to Our Orthodontists

The best way to learn more about braces is to set up a consultation with us at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. During your initial visit, your teeth will be evaluated, and our orthodontists will pinpoint your problem areas and explain your options to correct your teeth. You will have regular visits throughout the course of your treatment to monitor your progress. Our orthodontists will make adjustments as needed. With time and patience, you will finally see the smile that you have wanted for so long. You may not have been born with teeth in the proper position, but we will help you achieve the smile you were meant to have. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

It’s Never Too Late for Adult Braces

December 11th, 2020

Many adults never received the orthodontic care they needed in childhood. Problems such as crowded or crooked teeth, underbites and overbites, incorrect jaw position or jaw joint disorders can develop into serious issues if they are not treated early. As an adult, you may experience problems such as tooth decay; headaches and earaches; gum disease; and biting, chewing and speaking problems. These could be the result of orthodontic problems that were not treated when you were a child. Adult braces can help those suffering from adulthood orthodontic problems.

It is never too late to treat orthodontic problems. Braces may provide the same benefits for adults as they do for children, but the length of time required to reach the desired results may take longer in adults than it does in teenagers.

During a consultation and examination of your teeth by one of our orthodontists, you may ask any questions you have about adult braces. After the examination, an orthodontic treatment may be recommended. You may want to know how braces will correct your problem, how long you will need to wear them, when you would need to schedule check-up appointments and what type of braces are available.

Many adults would rather hide the fact that they are wearing braces. They may meet many people during their job, or they would rather not explain repeatedly why they need braces. Invisalign® is the most discreet orthodontic treatment for adults. You will need to ask our specialists if Invisalign® is right for your dental issues. The treatment involves using a course of plastic aligners similar to mouthguards. A new aligner is used every two weeks to gradually push the teeth into the correct position. There are several advantages to Invisalign®. For example, since you take the aligner out when you eat and clean your teeth, this treatment involves no dietary restrictions.

Self-ligating metal braces are made of stainless steel and are still widely in use. They are much smaller than they were in previous decades. Ceramic braces are clear or tooth-colored and more discreet than metal braces, even though they look the same and do the same job.

As with all types of braces, adult braces come with some food restrictions. Some hard foods to avoid include raw carrots, popcorn, corn on the cob, nuts and crushed ice. We may also recommend you avoid taffy, chewing gum and caramel. Sticky foods are very difficult to remove from the tiny spaces around your brackets.

Unlike 50 years ago, people have much better oral hygiene and brush and floss regularly. This means they keep their teeth longer and value having them look attractive. More and more adults are getting braces in order to have the straight, healthy smile they have always wanted. If you are considering adult braces, you are not alone. At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, our trusted orthodontists are trained and ready to provide you with the best form of orthodontic care for your needs. Contact our office in Oak Lawn to learn more about the benefits that come with adult braces.

Braces for Kids: Things to Consider

December 11th, 2020

Are you concerned that your child may need braces? There are some common questions that parents consider when it comes to orthodontic care for their kids. If you live in the Oak Lawn or surrounding area and are considering braces for kids, take the time to do your research to ensure that your child is getting the best type of treatment for their needs.

Why Might Children Need Braces?

Braces for kids can be used to correct a range of tooth and jaw problems, including teeth that are crooked or overlap, too many teeth crowded into the mouth, overbite and underbite. While some issues that require braces are obvious to parents, others are first recognized at our office during a routine visit.

At What Age Should My Child Get Braces?

This varies among individuals, depending on the extent of orthodontic treatment needed and other factors. Most experts recommend that children have their first visit with an orthodontist around the time that the permanent teeth start arriving, usually at about age seven. While the child might not be ready for braces, our specialists will be able to identify potential issues and develop a long-term treatment plan.

What are the Different Types of Braces?

Kids usually need braces that include brackets, wires and rubber bands. While metal brackets were once standard, less noticeable porcelain and clear brackets are available today. This is a popular option for teens.

Another option is clear plastic trays called aligners that adjust the placement of teeth, but can be removed for eating and other activities. However, these are only effective for certain issues.

How Long Will My Child Need to Wear Braces?

Although treatment time varies among individuals, the average length of time for childhood braces is about two years. Most kids need to follow up their orthodontic treatment with a retainer, a special device worn in the mouth that keeps the teeth from moving back to their original positions.

What Type of Care is Involved with Braces for Kids?

You’ll need to monitor your child’s eating habits to make sure they aren’t consuming foods that could damage braces, such as popcorn, hard candy and gum. Because teeth with braces can be harder to get clean, good dental hygiene is essential. This includes brushing after every meal, flossing each day and keeping regular dental appointments to check for cavities. Your child will also have to visit our office regularly for adjustments.

If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth, talk to the team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics about braces for kids. This orthodontic visit is the first step to a straight smile in adulthood. Contact us today to book an appointment at our office in Oak Lawn.

The Right Time to Start Orthodontic Care

December 11th, 2020

Orthodontic care is supposed to gradually move permanent teeth that are misaligned. Once all of the permanent teeth have erupted, our orthodontists might create a long-term plan to treat any abnormalities in their positions. Generally speaking, the ideal time to start orthodontic care is usually in the early teenage years. Nevertheless, most adults still have the option of fixing their bad bites.

Diagnosis and Initial Steps for Children

The eruption of permanent teeth is significantly impacted by deciduous teeth. If there isn’t enough space for proper eruption, the incisors, canines and molars might come out in the wrong positions. It’s important to have the deciduous teeth extracted promptly in order to reduce the potential for crowing, bad bite and other forms of malocclusion. However, genetic factors may play a key role in improper eruption.

Extractions of deciduous teeth might not guarantee that the permanent teeth will grow in the appropriate spots. Comprehensive dental X-rays may be used to precisely forecast the formation of all permanent teeth in a patient. After analyzing the scans, our orthodontist might recommend that some permanent teeth be extracted. Such a recommendation is typically done for people who have moderate to severe forms of crowding.

Orthodontic Care for Adults

After age 20, the teeth and their roots harden and settle down deep in the gums. Therefore, it can become more difficult for orthodontists to correct a malocclusion of an adult compared to a teenager. There isn’t a viable way to accelerate the treatment process for adults who want straight teeth. To reduce any self-consciousness, some adults may opt for ceramic braces or Invisalign®.

Orthodontic Retainer

Orthodontic patients of all ages will have to wear retainers after completing their treatments. Adults might have to wear retainers for many years in order to lower the risk of a relapse. By contrast, teens might only have to wear retainers for a year or two to lock the teeth in their proper positions. It all depends on the unique situation.

Get All the Facts

If you are interested in orthodontic care, whether it be through braces, Invisalign® or some other form of correction, make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn to learn more about your options. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation for orthodontic care!

Learn More About What Types of Braces are Available

December 11th, 2020

In the world of orthodontics, malocclusion is a term that describes the misalignment of teeth. People who want to get straight teeth and attractive smiles have several options. Traditional, self-ligating and ceramic braces are suitable for cases involving moderate to severe forms of crowing and bad bites. Clear aligners are effective at correcting mild forms of malocclusion such as gaps between teeth. Learning about all of the different types of braces will help you to make the best decision regarding which one is right for you.

Traditional Braces

Conventional orthodontic treatment requires a patient to wear metal braces. A special adhesive is used to bond metallic brackets with the teeth. Such an adhesive material dries quickly and can be scraped off easily with a simple instrument such as a dental pick. Brackets must be connected to metal arch wires, which maintain tension very well. Rubber bands and ties are typically used to apply extra pressure on teeth that significantly deviate from their normal positions. Once all of the hardware is properly set up on a patient’s teeth, the orthodontist can make gradual adjustments in tension.

Other Types of Braces

Some individuals might not want to wear traditional braces. Another option that may be better for these people is self-ligating braces, which don’t require the use of elastics. In terms of the other hardware, these braces are virtually identical to conventional braces. However, they use a special clip to help guide the teeth into the proper positions.

Ceramic braces also come with many cosmetic benefits for people who may prefer less noticeable treatment. Durable, lightweight and nearly invisible, ceramic brackets are designed to blend in with the natural color of enamel. Sometimes called clear braces, they are also paired with special arch wires that aren’t as visible as metallic wires.

Clear Aligners

People who don’t want to wear braces but still want straight teeth and a beautiful smile should consider clear aligners via Invisalign®. These mouthpieces are made from invisible materials that are lightweight and resistant to stains and bacterial growth. Patients should take off clear aligners only before eating, brushing or flossing the teeth. It’s safe to drink various beverages while wearing these orthodontic devices.

Learn About Your Options

Make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn to learn more about all of the different types of braces. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started on the journey to a beautiful, healthy smile!

When to See an Orthodontist Over a Dentist

December 11th, 2020

A good dentist can help establish a feasible plan for having a healthy smile. There are, however, certain issues that a dentist cannot correct. These typically pertain to the alignment of your bite, severe gaps or spaces between your teeth or the overall look and functionality of your jaw. For problems like these, you’ll need to see an orthodontist. An orthodontist specializes in the provision of custom, oral appliances for corrective overbites, under-bites, gaps between the teeth and tooth crowding. 

Why See an Orthodontist?

There are countless benefits that people can gain by choosing to improve the alignment of their bites, overall tooth spacing and problems with tooth crowding. To start, properly spaced teeth are much easier to clean than are tooth structures that are positioned too closely together or overlapping. Moreover, balancing out bite forces by addressing overbites, under-bites, missing teeth and gaps can actually preserve the integrity of the natural tooth structures and extend their lifetime. When bite forces are uneven, certain tooth structures are subjected to far more pressure and stress than they’re designed to withstand. This additional stress can lead to chipping, fractures, the breakdown of tooth enamel and eventual tooth loss.

How to Know When You Need Orthodontic Care

When preparing your smile restoration plan, a dentist may find that certain cosmetic and structural issues will be best addressed via orthodontic care. For instance, if overcrowded teeth have made it difficult for you to thoroughly floss, fixing the resulting cavities will only provide a temporary solution.

In situations like this one, an experienced orthodontist can implement treatments based upon in-office examinations and the recommendations of your dentist. Our orthodontist can choose the perfect type of appliance for aligning your teeth and for ensuring that there is ample room for the effective removal of plaque, tartar and the germs that feed on these substances. This way, you’ll have a much lower likelihood of developing new cavities in the future.

Improving Your Oral Health

For most people, the absolute best oral care plan is one that includes both a dentist and an orthodontist. Seeing an orthodontist is critical for resolving gaps, crowding and other alignment issues.

Make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics to learn more about how orthodontic care can benefit you. Located in Oak Lawn, some of our top treatments include braces and Invisalign®. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Teen Braces: What are Your Options?

December 11th, 2020

The teenage years are usually the best time to have any orthodontic concerns treated. Unfortunately, many teenagers do not like the idea of a mouth full of metal, especially when selfies are a big part of their social life. Today, there is good news when it comes to teen braces. Technology has advanced orthodontic treatments to make braces barely visible and, in some cases, completely invisible, especially in a photograph.

The long-term benefits of orthodontic treatments are well worth it. Not only do braces result in a great smile for the rest of your life, but they also correct many dental issues, such as improper alignment to create a good bite and other things. Straight teeth also help you avoid future problems, such as TMJ disorders and sleep apnea.

Metal braces are what most teenagers want to avoid, but they have several advantages and are much smaller than they were in decades past. Metal braces treat all dental and mouth disorders. While they are still the most noticeable type of teen braces, you can take advantage of this and choose brightly-colored elastic bands to enhance your personal style.

Ceramic braces are a more discreet option, even though they are the same shape and size of metal braces. The benefit is the brackets and wires are tooth-colored, so they are less noticeable and may not even show in a photograph.

Invisalign® is the closest to invisible that braces can get. They consist of medical-grade plastic aligners that fit over your teeth the same way a mouth guard does. Our orthodontic specialists make a customized program that aims to push your teeth gradually into the correct position. Every two weeks, you get a new aligner until the job is done. There are no food restrictions and you clean your teeth the same way you always did because the aligners can be removed for eating and cleaning.

Teenagers can get the orthodontic treatment they need with minimal inconvenience. Today, there are several options available for teen braces that are virtually invisible. Schedule an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn to learn more about the different types of teen braces. Contact us today to book a consultation!

Types of Kids Braces

December 11th, 2020

Braces are used to correct numerous issues, including crooked, overcrowded and overlapping teeth. Malocclusion, a condition characterized by the difference in the size of the upper and lower jaw, is another dental issue that requires the use of braces. When the upper jaw is larger, it creates an overbite. If the lower jaw is disproportionately smaller, the condition is known as an underbite. These problems may occur because of accidents and habits like sucking a thumb as well as the early or late loss of baby teeth. Genetics can also play a part. If another family member required braces, it is likely that the children will also need the dental appliance. Once it has been determined that your child needs braces, our orthodontists will recommend the type that will produce the best results.

There are several basic types of kids braces. Consisting of steel and wires, traditional metal braces are the most recognizable form of these corrective appliances. Modern metal braces, like self-ligating braces, are considerably smaller and more comfortable than versions used years ago.

Self-ligating ceramic braces are fabricated from clear or tooth-colored ceramic brackets instead of metal. They may also use tooth-colored wires to blend in more naturally and be less conspicuous. Although ceramic braces are less noticeable and can be just as effective as metal braces, they are typically not used as kids braces because they break more easily, and most kids don’t have the discipline to take the extra precautions to prevent breakage.

Clear aligners are invisible, but may not be as effective as metal braces. Unlike other braces, clear aligners can be removed for brief periods if they become uncomfortable. Again, clear aligners are typically not used as kids braces because they require extra handling and can be easily lost, especially by children.

If your child is unhappy with his or her smile, or if you suspect that your child has a misalignment issue, make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn to discuss kids braces. Our friendly staff will set up an appointment for a thorough dental examination. We will discuss the best treatment options for improving your child’s oral health and creating the beautiful smile every kid wants and deserves. We happily serve clients in the Oak Lawn community and surrounding area. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child!

Getting Braces for the First Time

December 11th, 2020

When you are first told that you need braces to correct some dental issues, you may wonder what is in store for you. The most important thing to remember is that in the end, you will have a beautiful smile and better oral health.

For self-ligating metal braces and ceramic braces, it may take one to two hours to put them on, depending on the type of braces you are getting. The first step is typically to clean and dry your teeth. Next, the bonding glue will be applied to each tooth and the brackets will be attached. The arch wire will be placed in the brackets and secured with elastic bands. Metal braces may be secured with colored elastic bands to add to your personal style.

You may feel a little bit of soreness in your mouth and teeth afterwards. This soreness may last a week or so, depending on the situation. There are some things you can do to minimize the discomfort. These include:

  • Eat soft foods or liquids for the first two days. Things like soup, yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, applesauce and milkshakes.
  • If the discomfort becomes intense, you may take over-the-counter medications. There are products that you can buy that will numb the uncomfortable areas. You can also rinse your mouth with a weak, warm salt-water solution several times each day.
  • Get some orthodontic wax to cover any brackets that are causing discomfort.
  • Try not to touch the sore spots with your tongue or finger.

Once your braces are on your teeth and before you leave our office, be sure to ask about any hygiene programs or dietary instructions needed, and if there are any special supplies you need for cleaning. We also recommend that you make your next appointment at that time. If you postpone appointments, you may extend the amount of time you need to wear the braces.

When you have your first consultation with our specialists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, your teeth may be checked and you can learn about all of your orthodontic options. Metal braces and ceramic braces are just a couple of the available treatments at our office. We will make sure you have all of the necessary instructions so that you will end up with a beautiful smile and healthy teeth for years to come. Contact us today to schedule an orthodontic appointment!

Do I Need to Get a Retainer After Braces?

December 11th, 2020

You’ve finally made it to the finish line. After months or years, your braces are coming off. You get to fully appreciate your beautiful smile. As you enjoy the moment, don’t forget about a retainer. As much as you may want to move on without one, it is an important part of your orthodontic correction. Consider it the final stretch in your treatment plan.

Why Do You Need a Retainer?

Once your braces come off, it will take time to make sure the tissues and bones in your mouth maintain their position. It took time to move them into place, but your teeth are going to tend to try and go back to the way they were if you do not wear your retainer. A retainer will hold your teeth in the proper position while they settle into place.

How Long Will It Need to Be Worn?

The length of treatment time for a retainer will depend on the unique situation. Sometimes, it may be best to wear it for at least a year. Other times, it may be advised to wear a retainer for the same amount of time that the braces were worn. In many cases, it is advised to wear it at night for the rest of your life. You will need to talk to our orthodontists to find out what is best for you.

Take Good Care of Your Retainer

You should clean your retainer on a daily basis. You can use mouthwash or toothpaste to freshen it up and clear off any debris. If you are going to play contact sports, you can remove it until the activity is over. The same rule of thumb can be followed when you have a special occasion. Unless you have a retainer that is fixed to your teeth, you can enjoy a bit more flexibility with this orthodontic appliance. Be sure to put it back in your mouth and wear it the recommended amount of time when special events are over.

Talk to Our Orthodontists

During a consultation at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn, you can express any concerns you may have about getting a retainer after braces. Be sure to ask questions so that you are well-informed. Remember that this is the last part of your treatment plan that will help you to make sure you maintain your beautiful smile for years to come. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn more.

Preparing Your Teen for Orthodontic Treatment

December 11th, 2020

If your teen is getting ready for orthodontic treatment, they need to remember that in the end, it is all going to pay off when they can show off that amazing smile. As the time approaches, you can help to prepare your teenager for the road ahead by knowing what to expect on the journey to properly aligned teeth. The most important thing is to remind your teen that this is just one short phase in life that will not last forever.

Your Teen Has Choices

Gone are the days when traditional braces were the only option for orthodontic treatment. There is a good chance that your teenager may be able to try Invisalign®. It revolves around wearing clear aligners that are molded to fit your child’s teeth. They are removable and discreet.

If this type of treatment is not an alternative for your child, there have been many innovations when it comes to typical braces. Ceramic brackets allow your teen to have brackets that are clear or match your child’s teeth. Braces can also be worn behind the teeth to make them less noticeable. The main goal is to find a form of orthodontic treatment that is effective for your teenager.

Regardless of what kind of orthodontic correction your child has, it will likely cause the teeth to ache when treatment is initiated. Braces apply pressure to the teeth as they are gently shifted into the proper position.

Good Dental Hygiene is Essential

Your teen needs to be conscientious about good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment. The last thing you want to see is tooth decay or stained teeth when the braces come off. Flossing and brushing should still be a vital part of the daily routine. Eating healthy food will be helpful as well.

Expect Regular Visits to Our Office

Unlike the annual visit to the dentist, your teen will need to see our orthodontists regularly to monitor progress and make any adjustments. It might seem like an inconvenience, but our orthodontists are making your teen’s teeth a top priority. 

Learn More About Orthodontic Treatment

Your teenager is sure to be filled with questions when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Our team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics can be the guide that your teen needs to make it to the finish line. We will sit down together to talk about options for a treatment plan, how long orthodontic correction should take, and what your teen should expect in the months or years ahead. You and your teen can learn more about the different types of braces during this appointment at our office in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Orthodontist vs. Dentist: What are the Differences?

December 11th, 2020

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the alignment of teeth. An orthodontist is an expert who skillfully manipulates the teeth into the appropriate positions. Dentists simply prevent and treat diseases and other conditions that affect the oral cavity.

It’s quite common for orthodontists to work together with dentists in order to successfully correct a patient’s malocclusion, which is a term that describes an improper configuration of the teeth. Crowding, overbites, underbites and gaps are some common malocclusion classifications.

People who are in need of orthodontic correction are often encouraged by dentists to get the appropriate treatment. For example, pediatric dentists can anticipate the formation of crooked or misaligned permanent teeth in teenagers. From there, they can point the patient in the direction of an orthodontist to correct the malocclusion.

Braces are simple metallic devices that are bonded to the teeth. They are also linked to each other via metal wires that can be adjusted. Every month or so, an orthodontist needs to pull and manipulate the arch wires in order to stimulate gradual movement of teeth. Over time, the roots and soft gum tissue also move into the right place.

It’s highly recommended that patients still visit their dentists for routine oral exams and cleanings while they are undergoing orthodontic correction. Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities and other complications that might slow down the orthodontic process. For example, some braces might have to be temporarily removed before a new crown or large filling is installed in a damaged tooth. After a major dental procedure is completed on specific teeth, brackets and archwires can be replaced to resume orthodontic treatment.

A popular alternative to braces is known as Invisalign®, which is a transparent and removable mouthpiece. This device is specifically molded to fit over an orthodontic patient’s teeth. Invisalign® comes with its advantages. For one, adults can seek orthodontic correction without having to worry about revealing any metal and wires while talking or smiling.

Once braces or Invisalign® mouthpieces are no longer needed, orthodontists usually give patients retainers that can prevent relapses. Failure to wear the retainer may cause some straightened teeth to move back into their original positions.

If you think you may need braces and have been looking for an orthodontist in the Oak Lawn area, we invite you to make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Contact us today to schedule an orthodontic appointment!

Are Clear Braces Right for Me?

December 11th, 2020

You know that your teeth need orthodontic correction. It’s the only way to solve a problem like yours. If you are dealing with crowding, a misaligned bite or teeth that are not in proper alignment, our orthodontists can help you to have a beautiful smile. Before you get started, you need to decide which course of treatment will be best for you. Our orthodontists are experts and will be able to point you in the right direction. You may be self-conscious about the thought of wearing braces. Fortunately, there have been many advances in the field of orthodontics. Clear braces could be the answer for you.

What are Your Options When It Comes to Clear Braces?

If you live in Oak Lawn and are considering clear braces, you have choices. There is a possibility that clear aligners will work for you. Invisalign® aligners are made from a medical-grade plastic that is durable and clear. They are customized to fit your teeth and slide in over your teeth for a snug fit. They gradually shift your teeth into the proper position. They need to be worn at least 22 hours a day to be effective. Many patients choose Invisalign® aligners because they are discreet and flexible. If you have a special event or you are going to be involved in contact sports, you can take them out. They can also be removed while you are cleaning your teeth every day. Invisalign® aligners are popular with teens and adults. However, they are only advised in cases that are in need of mild orthodontic correction.

If you have a more severe issue with the alignment of your teeth, you will have to consider something along the lines of self-ligating braces with brackets and wires. In that case, you can choose ceramic brackets that are clear if you want braces that are less noticeable. The main goal is to find a treatment plan that will help you to straighten your teeth. Clear braces could be the ideal solution that will transform your smile while others hardly notice that you have braces on at all.

Ask Our Orthodontists About Clear Braces

If you are ready to begin your journey to getting straight teeth, make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. Your teeth will be carefully evaluated through a physical examination and the use of medical imagery. The next step will be to choose the right treatment plan for you. Express your wishes for a discreet form of orthodontic correction, if that’s what you desire. Find out how clear braces can help you to get the results that you want to see when you flash your pearly whites. Discuss Invisalign® versus clear brackets. Our orthodontists will be able to explain what will be most effective when it comes to treating your teeth. Contact us today to schedule an orthodontic appointment!

Invisalign for Orthodontic Discretion

December 11th, 2020

Orthodontic treatments have become very popular among adults, and if you’re looking for a way to straighten your teeth, there are several options to choose from. However, if you’re looking for a treatment that is discreet and effective, consider Invisalign®.

Since it’s one of the most discreet options available, Invisalign® has become incredibly popular among adults. The treatment plan will have almost no impact on your daily lifestyle.

Invisalign® for Discretion

Most adult patients want a treatment option that isn’t obvious. They’re looking for a way to straighten their teeth and want to avoid sacrificing their appearance. When compared with traditional braces, Invisalign® is significantly different because it consists of transparent aligners.

Regular braces require you to wear wires and brackets, and they can make oral hygiene much more difficult. Invisalign® aligners are transparent, removable trays, and when worn, they gently move your teeth into the correct positions.

The greatest benefit of this treatment is the invisible factor. Most people will never know that you’re wearing the removable trays. If you’re like most people, you want to straighten your teeth, but you don’t want everyone else to know about it.

Invisalign® for Comfort

In the past, orthodontic treatments relied heavily on using powerful, uncomfortable forces to shift the positions of crooked teeth. With such powerful forces at work, it didn’t take long for traditional braces to earn a bad reputation among wearers.

Today, treatments for straighter teeth don’t require you to endure many months of discomfort. The aligners are made from smooth, BPA-free plastic, which makes them safe and comfortable.

When wearing these trays, you can forget about discomfort and irritation. The aligners are designed to prevent irritation of the gums and mouth, and they even make it easier to eat food and practice proper oral hygiene.

The aligners can be removed easily, so you can keep your teeth clean and put the aligners back on when you’re finished. Traditional braces make flossing and brushing much more difficult, and if you want to avoid these problems, consider Invisalign®.

Invisalign® for Convenience

Most patients want an orthodontic solution that is convenient, and they don’t want to make unnecessary changes to their lifestyle. Fortunately, Invisalign® is designed around convenience.

If you have a special occasion and don’t want to wear the aligners, you can easily take them out and put them back on when you’re finished. This treatment works well for people who’re busy because it requires fewer visits to our office than traditional braces.

You deserve to have straight teeth, and you shouldn’t have to deal with an uncomfortable, obvious treatment solution. Invisalign® allows you to straighten your teeth and has almost no impact on your daily lifestyle. The aligners are transparent, comfortable and effective, and you can remove them whenever you need to. If you have been thinking about braces, make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn to see if this form of treatment is right for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Popular Types of Braces for Adults

December 11th, 2020

When you think about braces, you may think they are just for kids. However, many adults choose orthodontic correction to give themselves a beautiful smile. If you are an adult and you have issues with the alignment of your teeth, your bite or spacing, braces could be the answer for you. Gone are the days when your only choice was a mouth full of metal brackets and wires. Consider all of the different types of braces for adults as you prepare for the journey to straight teeth and an unforgettable smile.

Metal Braces are Still Popular

While there are many options available for orthodontic correction, metal wires and brackets are still considered to be a popular course of treatment. There have been innovations that have made this method of orthodontic correction even more effective. Self-ligating brackets shift your teeth gently without the need for rubber bands.

Ceramic Braces for Adults

You can choose ceramic braces when you want to be discreet. The brackets are made out of a ceramic material that is the same color as your teeth or clear. Your wires can match your teeth as well to make your orthodontic treatment less obvious.

Invisalign® Aligners Provide You with Flexibility

Invisalign® aligners are one of the most popular methods of orthodontic treatment that is available today. You will wear clear aligners that are made from a clear, durable plastic. They are customized to fit your mouth through the use of precise medical imagery. They slide over your teeth and you wear them for at least 22 hours every day. You can remove them when you are performing your oral hygiene routine or when you have a special event. People of all ages love Invisalign® because you barely know your aligners are there and they are flexible.

Learn More About Your Choices for Adult Braces

If you are ready to get your teeth straightened for an incredible smile, set up a time to talk to the team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. During an appointment at our office in Oak Lawn, your teeth will be evaluated and a treatment plan will be formed for you. Discuss all of your options to be sure you are getting the type of treatment that you prefer. Bear in mind that our orthodontists will advise you on which options will effectively treat your teeth. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn more about your options regarding braces for adults.

Crowded Teeth Affecting Your Child’s Smile? Consider Braces for Kids

December 11th, 2020

When your child has crowded teeth, it can really have a negative effect on his or her smile. Not only does crowding affect the appearance of your child’s smile, but it can also make it much harder to keep those teeth healthy and clean. If not corrected, crowded teeth can lead to other problems in adulthood, such as TMJ disorders. You want to start now and make that smile a top priority. Braces for kids could be the best solution that you could choose when you are putting your child’s teeth at the top of your list.

Give Your Child a Reason to Flash Those Pearly Whites

You do not want to hold your child back in any way. That includes dealing with a crowded mouth. Turn to our orthodontists in Oak Lawn to learn about options for your child, including braces for kids. Thanks to innovations in the field of orthodontics, you have so many options that can help your child’s smile to truly shine. Palatal expansion, tooth extraction, and spacers may be part of your child’s treatment plan before it is time for brackets and wires. The sooner you get started for your child, the sooner you will see those results. 

Watch the Transformation Happen with Your Childs Smile

You have only seen your child’s crowded mouth. You want to know what it would be like to see straight, properly aligned teeth. Digital imagery makes it possible for our orthodontist to show you an image of what your child’s teeth could look like after orthodontic treatment. From that point, you can sit down and talk about specifics. Learn what will be expected when it comes to putting braces on your child’s teeth, how long treatment will last, and what type of care will be necessary to maintain results. Learn why it is important to correct teeth and what type of treatment plan will be most effective for your child. While there are many alternatives, only our experienced orthodontists can create a personalized treatment plan that will best suit the needs of your child.

Learn More About Braces for Kids

You know that there is a problem with your child’s teeth. You can see the crowding and know that it is getting in the way of your little one’s smile. Our orthodontists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics are the best source to get rid of crowding problems. Make an appointment at our office in Oak Lawn for an initial evaluation. Our orthodontist will take a comprehensive look at your child’s teeth, pinpoint problem areas, and choose a treatment plan that will give your child a beautiful smile. The sooner you begin, the sooner you will see the best results. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your little one.

Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment for Children

December 11th, 2020

Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a process implemented when a child has dentofacial problems that will either cause or exacerbate misaligned teeth. The technique was developed as orthodontists realized that some conditions, like crowding or an excessively small jaw, are easier to treat while the child’s facial bones are still growing. For example, an orthodontist could prescribe a palatal expander for a child with an abnormally small palate; an adult with the same problem would need to undergo surgery.

This type of treatment can reduce the need to remove teeth. In addition, by taking care of many of the patient’s problems during the first phase, it can also shorten the length of the second phase, depending on the situation.

What Does Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment Involve?

Most authorities recommend that a child start visiting the orthodontist by the time they are seven years old. By that age, their adult teeth will be starting to grow in and the orthodontist will be able to spot potential problems, many of which might get worse as the child gets older.

If the orthodontist spots such a problem, they will likely recommend two-phase orthodontic treatment to correct it. The first phase would take care of any jaw abnormalities, bite problems or bad habits. The exact procedures used during the first phase would depend on the problem. There will then be a rest period in between the two phases while the remaining adult teeth emerge. The orthodontist will carefully monitor the patient during the rest period.

The second phase, which starts after all of the adult teeth (except the wisdom teeth) have grown in, would correct any remaining problems with tooth alignment. While the first phase can involve several different types of procedures and/or appliances, the second phase typically involves braces at our office in Oak Lawn.

What Conditions Can Be Treated with Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment? 

There are many problems that might require this form of treatment. Examples include:

  • Thumb-sucking past the age of three
  • An abnormally narrow palate
  • Jaw abnormalities
  • Missing teeth
  • Premature loss of baby teeth
  • Crowding
  • Open bites
  • Crossbites

What is an Open Bite?

An open bite is an abnormality in which the front teeth don’t meet when the mouth is closed. It can be caused by jaw abnormalities or bad habits like prolonged thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting. If an open bite isn’t corrected, it can lead to problems with chewing and premature wear on the back teeth. It has also been linked to temporomandibular jaw (TMJ) disorders.

In some cases, the open bite will go away on its own. This is especially likely to happen if the child has an open bite simply because they have a mix of baby and adult teeth. In most cases, the child will need two-phase orthodontic treatment. They will need help breaking bad habits, or they will need to have their jaw worked on. In the latter case, the orthodontist may recommend one of several appliances to guide their jaw growth and bring their teeth into a normal position during the first phase.

Getting the Best Treatment for Your Child

As a parent, you want your child to have the best quality of life possible. Having a healthy set of teeth and a healthy jaw is a big part of this. Schedule an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn to see if two-phase orthodontic treatment is right for your child. Contact us today to book a consultation.

Maintain Your Beautiful Smile with Orthodontic Retention

December 11th, 2020

You have made it to the end with your orthodontic treatment and you finally have that amazing smile that you always wanted. When you look in the mirror, you still can’t believe that is you with beautifully aligned teeth that have shifted into the proper position. Orthodontic correction has made such a difference in your life. You have more confidence than you ever did before. You have a reason to smile because you can’t wait to flash your pearly whites. It has been a long journey, but it has been worth every step of the way. The final phase of your treatment has arrived. You need to get ready for orthodontic retention.

Maintain Your Results with Orthodontic Retention

You may have thought that it was over and you no longer needed anything else. You have your incredible smile and you’re looking forward to enjoying it. However, you are going to need to follow up your treatment by wearing a retainer. Your teeth will begin to shift after your treatment is over. If you do not carry out the orthodontic retention phase, you could see your teeth slowly ease their way back into the position they used to hold. Your teeth tend to want to follow the patterns that they have always had. You need a retainer to hold them steady until the bone and muscle structure in your face completely settles, adjusting to the new arrangement of your teeth.

Be Sure to Follow Our OrthodontistsRecommendations

The most critical period to wear a retainer is immediately after your braces have been removed. This is the point when your teeth are at their most vulnerable. You don’t want to lose the results that you have worked so hard to get. Generally, you should plan on wearing your retainer day and night for the first six months. After that period, you may be able to switch to wearing your retainer at night for up to a year. Some orthodontists recommend that you extend that period longer. It really isn’t much of a price to pay if it means your teeth will remain in the position that you have achieved through orthodontic treatment. 

Talk to Our Orthodontists About the Orthodontic Retention Stage

You have choices when it comes to orthodontic retention. You can have a removable retainer or a fixed retainer. Our orthodontists will help you choose the best retainer for you. It will be customized to fit your mouth and you can remove it while you are eating. If you have a special occasion and want to show off your teeth, you can leave your retainer out and get back with the program when your event is over. You can also leave it out during sporting events if you have a removable retainer. If not, you will want to wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth.

With an office in Oak Lawn, Petty & Bielik Orthodontics wants to help you maintain your beautiful smile after braces. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn more about orthodontic retention.

Gently Widen the Upper Jaw with a Palatal Expander

December 11th, 2020

A palatal expander is an orthodontic appliance used to widen the upper jaw to make room for adult teeth. It, thus, reduces the need for tooth extraction and corrects problems like crowding or crossbites. It can also allow impacted teeth that are blocked by other teeth to emerge.

Types of Palatal Expanders

The Hyrax expander is probably the most common type. It is a fixed expander, which means it can’t be removed by the patient. It is made of stainless steel and consists of two halves with a keyhole in the middle. It is attached to the inside of the patient’s mouth by a pair of bands similar to those of braces that fit around the patient’s molars. The key is periodically used to gradually widen the expander and their palate or upper jaw.

The Haas expander looks like a retainer with a plastic or acrylic center. That part also has two halves and a keyhole. Removable expanders look like retainers with two halves. They are considered less effective than fixed expanders.

How is a Palatal Expander Used?

A palatal expander works by gradually pushing the growth plates of the palate apart. The growth plates are on the inner edges of the palate, and they don’t fuse until the patient is in their early or mid-teens. Consequently, orthodontists generally prefer to widen a patient’s jaw before they reach that age. An older patient who wants or needs to have their jaw widened will likely have to undergo surgery. Such patients may wear a palatal expander for several months to keep their jaw at its new width.

A patient whose palate hasn’t yet fused won’t need surgery; they just need the palatal expander. Our orthodontists will have it custom-made for them to ensure a perfect fit. If they are getting a fixed expander, our orthodontists will implant it in the patient’s mouth.

We often recommend that a parent or guardian do the turns for the patient. The patient should tilt their head back in a well-lit room so that the parent can get a good view of the expander. The parent then inserts the key into the keyhole and turns it from front to back for a specified number of times. The parent will usually have to widen the expander once or twice a day.

Schedule an Appointment Today

To learn more about how a palatal expander can benefit your child, set up a consultation at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Conveniently located in Oak Lawn, we want to help you and your entire family achieve a beautiful smile, whether it requires braces, Invisalign® or other types of orthodontic appliances, like a palatal expander. Contact us today to book an appointment.

What are Removable Orthodontic Appliances?

December 11th, 2020

Removable orthodontic appliances are appliances that are customized to fit your mouth to aid in your orthodontic treatment plan. Unlike braces and other types of appliances that are attached to your teeth, removable appliances can be taken out on your own as needed, such as when you are cleaning your teeth. Your treatment plan will be created for you by your orthodontist. In order to find the best plan of action to address the various stages that involve the adjustment of your teeth, you may require removable orthodontic appliances for the best results.

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we incorporate elastics, positioners, retainers, and separators into many of our clients’ orthodontic treatments.


Also known as rubber bands, elastics are used to improve the fit of the upper and lower teeth. As long as these are worn as instructed by an orthodontist, patients should see favorable results.


Positioners are used to help maintain and set the results of a separate orthodontic treatment. Typically, patients only need to wear this appliance for between four and eight weeks.


A retainer is meant to hold your teeth in the proper position after your braces come off. This removable appliance is generally worn all of the time after your braces initially are taken off, except when it is removed while you clean your teeth or eat. Eventually, you can just wear your retainer at night. Expect to wear it on a nightly basis for the first year of treatment. Many orthodontists recommend that you continue to wear your retainer at night indefinitely in order to maintain the results of your orthodontic correction.


Also known as spacers, separators are small rubber doughnuts that are used to create separations between the teeth. This gives the teeth additional room to shift their positions during future orthodontic treatments.

Talk to Your Orthodontists About Removable Orthodontic Appliances Today

If you are about to undergo orthodontic treatment or your treatment plan is already underway, removable orthodontic appliances may play an important role in helping you achieve a beautiful smile. Make an appointment with your orthodontist to discuss removable orthodontic appliances and find out more about how they may be able to help you to get optimal results. Petty & Bielik Orthodontics is proud to offer high-quality braces treatments that may incorporate removable orthodontic appliances to patients in the Oak Lawn area of Illinois. If you’d like more information beginning treatment or are interested in scheduling a consultation appointment, contact us today!

Brushing with Braces

December 11th, 2020

There are so many good reasons to get braces. Some people get braces simply for cosmetic reasons. Others get braces because they have problems with their teeth that impact their ability to eat, impact their ability to speak and can have some long-term detrimental impacts on the appearance of their face.

The last thing that you’re going to want is to have your braces or your child’s braces removed only to find out that you or your child have a bunch of cavities because you did not adequately brush your teeth while you were wearing braces.

Brushing with braces can be difficult. This is because the brackets on metal braces attract food. Plaque can grow on the braces and can start to affect your teeth. Many orthodontists recommend that when a person has braces, they brush their teeth more frequently than a person who does not have braces. They should be brushing their teeth at least once after every single meal.

When it comes to brushing with braces, there are some important steps to follow:

  • First, make sure your toothbrush is at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
  • Second, using a circular motion, brush the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth gently.
  • Third, using the tip of your toothbrush, gently brush the inner surfaces of the front teeth.

It is important that you take your time when you brush your teeth with braces. Don’t rush through it. Make sure that you are brushing every single tooth not only at the gum line but above and underneath each bracket. Doing this will improve the chances of you removing plaque and debris from your teeth’s surface.

Parents should pay special attention to the way that their younger children brush their teeth. They might need a little bit of help, especially when it comes to angling the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and using a circular motion. Watch them until you are confident that they are comfortable with brushing their teeth in this new way.

If you don’t floss, your teeth will not be healthy. Flossing is just as important, if not more important, than simply brushing with braces. Our orthodontist can recommend special floss or a floss threader to make it easier for you to floss your teeth while wearing metal braces.

Brushing with braces is an extra challenge. It requires a lot of diligence. But you have dedicated a ton of time to getting braces. Don’t get sloppy with brushing your teeth since this could ruin all the hard work you are doing.

During an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, our experts can tell you all you need to know when it comes to brushing with braces. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more.

Lose the Goop and Tray with the Itero Scanner

December 11th, 2020

In the past, if you were going to have treatment done on your teeth, you would need to have a mold taken of your mouth. That would mean a tray filled with goop that would be inserted into your mouth. You would have to wait a long time before the molding tray was finally removed so you could clean out your mouth. Thanks to modern technology and advances in the field of orthodontics, you can benefit from the Itero® scanner to avoid the need for messy molds.

What is the Story with the Itero® Scanner?

When our orthodontists need an in-depth look at your teeth, the Itero® scanner can get the job done. A handheld device is passed over your teeth to create a digital image. This information can be sent to any computer in order to plan your course of treatment.


The Itero® scanner is extremely helpful in creating Invisalign® aligners. When you need to have a new set of aligners every two weeks, you want to make sure that you are getting the proper fit. The Itero® scanner will provide our orthodontic professionals with a clear picture of what you need so that you can have the most effective treatment possible.

Choose the Fast and Convenient Method of Evaluation

When you benefit from the Itero® scanner, it means less of your time. You won’t be inconvenienced by the need for molds, a mess or a lengthy visit at our office in Oak Lawn when determining if you need braces. You’ll also avoid radiation. Best of all, everyone who is involved in your treatment plan will easily be able to tap into the digital information provided by the scanner.

Learn More About the Benefits of the Itero® Scanner

When you have to undergo orthodontic treatment, you want to make sure that everything goes well. The Itero® scanner will provide our team of professionals at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics with the necessary map to implement your treatment plan. If you need an orthodontic appliance, you want to get it right the first time. The main goal is to give you a beautiful smile that you can be proud to show off to the world.

Our orthodontists want to make sure you are happy with your treatment. This innovative technology can help you to have positive results. We are conveniently located in Oak Lawn and can’t wait to see you. Contact us today to schedule an orthodontic appointment.

Is a Retainer Really Necessary After Orthodontic Correction?

December 11th, 2020

In most cases, a retainer is a necessary final step in orthodontic correction. This is a custom-made appliance typically made from metal and plastic that is fitted exactly to the wearer’s mouth. After braces shift the alignment of the teeth, this special device serves to keep them from moving back to their original positions. If you or your child is looking forward to having braces removed, we encourage you to learn more about what to expect regarding retainers.

While our orthodontists will specify exactly when and for how long the retainer should be used, in most cases, it should be worn between meals and at night for at least three months after braces are removed.

These appliances may be either removable or fixed. The removable version is designed to be taken out when eating and is usually worn for at least a year after braces are removed. The fixed version is attached semi-permanently to the teeth and cannot be removed without an orthodontist’s assistance. This type of appliance is usually worn indefinitely, often for several years.

Caring for a retainer is an important part of oral health. Removable ones should be soaked in water with denture cleaner tablets or a vinegar and water solution when it’s not in your mouth. It’s important to keep removable retainers in liquid when not in use, since the plastic can crack if it gets too dry. Those with fixed appliances must keep up with regular dental checkups to avoid cavities and decay developing around the retainer.

In addition to keeping teeth straight, there are a few unique benefits of wearing a retainer. First, a correct bite allows children to chew food more thoroughly, which means that they are getting more nutrients from the meals they eat. In addition, adults who have diabetes can avoid oral complications of the disease by wearing a retainer to promote straight teeth. Crooked or misaligned teeth are more likely to develop cavities and decay. For some kids, wearing a retainer can help to correct speech problems and help with breathing issues, such as snoring.

For many parents, the most challenging aspect of orthodontic treatment is ensuring that your child wears the retainer as directed and doesn’t lose it at school or a sports practice. Some kids find a bright case for their appliance as an effective way to remember to bring it to school. Also, keeping the case in the same place can help make it a habit.

If you have braces or are in need or orthodontic correction, schedule an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn to learn more about the importance of orthodontic retention. Contact us today to book an appointment.

Self-Ligating Braces for Less Friction

December 11th, 2020

You’ve been informed that you need braces. You are prepared for the process that awaits you, from getting your braces mounted to coming in for regular appointments to monitor your progress. You’re ready to accept the fact that you will be in it for the long haul while you wear metal brackets and wires on your teeth, but you want to find a way to make it as comfortable and effective as possible. Self-ligating braces are highly effective and produce less friction in your mouth. It means more comfort for you while you wait to see a reason to smile.

How Do Self-Ligating Braces Work? 

Self-ligating braces are based on the same concept as traditional braces. You will still have brackets on your teeth and metal wires running through them. It is the gentle force of these wires, pulling on your teeth day in and day out, that will eventually shift your teeth into the proper position. Self-ligating braces have brackets that are similar to those that are typically used, except they do not require rubber bands or other ties to hold your wires where they belong. These braces are built to effectively tie down your braces so that you don’t have to worry about a thing. No need to be concerned about losing your rubber bands because you won’t need them.

Get Optimal Results Faster

Self-ligating braces mean less friction for your teeth as they gently shift your teeth in the right direction. You’ll find that you don’t have to see our orthodontist as often to check up on your progress. Your treatment time will be reduced as compared to traditional braces. It’s all about finding a treatment plan that will work for you to give you a beautiful smile. You may have to wait when you wear braces, but why wait any longer than you have to?

Taking Your First Step Toward Self-Ligating Braces

In order to begin treatment with self-ligating braces, our orthodontists at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics need to evaluate the condition of your teeth and determine what is necessary to correct their alignment. As all of the options are laid out before you, be sure to ask about self-ligating braces to speed up your treatment time. Find out how these braces can work more effectively during your course of treatment. Contact us today to schedule your orthodontic appointment in Oak Lawn.

Benefits of Getting Braces

December 11th, 2020

When you look in the mirror, you are not happy with what you see. Orthodontic issues are holding you back. You don’t like to smile for the camera and you’re not comfortable in social situations. You are self-conscious at work about your teeth, always wondering if others are noticing the problems with your smile. You want to be able to flash your pearly whites and see properly aligned teeth that really shine.

Braces could be the answer that you are looking for to give yourself that boost. They’re not just for teens and there are so many options that can help you to find the right treatment plan for you. Learn more about the benefits of getting braces at our office in Oak Lawn.

The Door is Open to Many Possibilities

Gone are the days when your only option for braces meant metal brackets and wires. While you can still go with that alternative to adjust your teeth, you can also try braces that are more discreet so that no one will know you are even having orthodontic treatment. You can choose ceramic braces that are clear or the same color of your teeth, making your treatment less obvious.

Invisalign® is another popular choice that involves wearing aligners made out of clear plastic. They are customized in order to fit your teeth perfectly. They are changed on a regular basis as your teeth adjust. You can take them out if you are going to a special event or you are involved in contact sports, but you need to wear them for at least 22 hours in order to have the best results. You can take them out to keep your teeth clean. They are not noticeable, but they will help you to have the smile you have always wanted to see.

You Can Have a Healthier Mouth

Once you have had braces and your teeth are in the proper position, you will find that it is much easier to keep your teeth clean. Clean teeth are healthy teeth that you can keep through your golden years. Shifting your teeth into the proper position can also help you to avoid TMJ disorders that result from a strain on the joint in your jaw. You can also hold off problems like sleep apnea, ensuring that your airway remains open when you are asleep at night.

Feel Good About Yourself

When you treat your orthodontic concerns with braces at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, you won’t believe the difference it will make in your smile. When you feel good about your teeth, it will show. You can come out of your shell and enjoy social gatherings. Gain new confidence at work. Enjoy what you see when you look at your reflection. To learn more about how braces can help you, make an appointment at our office in Oak Lawn. After a careful evaluation, our team will develop the best treatment plan for you. Contact us today to schedule your orthodontic appointment.

Am I a Candidate for Invisalign?

December 11th, 2020

If you have crooked or misaligned teeth, you may be considering treatment options, but lack the information to come to an informed decision. Many people come to our office wondering if they are a good candidate for Invisalign®.

What is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is a type of orthodontic treatment that has the same goal as traditional braces, but accomplishes this goal in a different manner. The treatment uses a number of almost invisible aligners that are quite comfortable and removable. These clear aligners are constructed using 3D computer imaging and are safe and effective at straightening teeth.

Many people would like to have their teeth straightened, but would like to avoid being self-conscious during their treatment. This is a common attitude among teens and young people who are more sensitive to opinions of their peers.

Invisalign® aligners are almost invisible, making the wearer less self-conscious during the process. They are also removable, so you can drink or eat whatever you like while being treated. Also, since Invisalign® does not involve wires or metal, it is more comfortable, and you will require fewer appointments to have them adjusted. The treatment also provides a method for visualizing what your straightened teeth will look like at the conclusion of your treatment.

Invisalign® Treatment Process

The Invisalign® treatment process is so simple, which makes it appealing to many people. You will begin by wearing a set of clear aligners for around two weeks. During this time, you may remove them only to eat, drink and clean your teeth. You will periodically replace each aligner with the following one in the series. As a result, your teeth will gradually shift into their proper positions.

You will be visiting us about every six weeks so that we can monitor your progress. The average treatment time ranges from 9 to 15 months until treatment completion. However, this varies depending on the unique needs of each patient. 

Why Should I Select an Orthodontist to Straighten My Teeth?

It is best to choose an orthodontist to straighten your teeth because they are highly trained and skilled specialists who have the most experience in this type of treatment. A dentist might only treat a few cases annually, while an orthodontist treats many more. Orthodontists also are better able to spot the difference between a basic case and a more complex one, as well as properly handle unanticipated difficulties when they occur.

Best Candidates

If you are located in the Oak Lawn or surrounding areas and are considering orthodontic correction but don’t want to deal with traditional braces, you may make a good candidate for Invisalign®. The clear aligners are virtually invisible to others. During a consultation at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, you can learn more about this form of treatment and whether or not it can work for you. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

Braces For Adults

December 11th, 2020


Orthodontic treatment is no longer just for teens. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists states that one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Many adults are choosing to receive treatment because they understand the importance of maintaining their health, and they want to feel better about their appearance. Adults everywhere are taking advantage of the opportunity to receive orthodontic care, and now you can too.


  • A bad bite or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
  • Teeth are crowded or spaced apart, possibly leading to tooth decay or gum disease
  • Abnormal jaw pain or pressure that is caused by crooked teeth
  • Desire for a healthier mouth and a more confident smile


For many adults, the thought of having metal braces is enough to discourage them from receiving treatment. However, today’s orthodontic treatment options offer a variety of braces and appliances that are comfortable, aesthetic, and customized to meet your needs. Types of braces include:

  • Ceramic (clear) self-ligating braces
  • Metal self-ligating braces
  • Invisible braces


The main difference between treating adults and children or teens is that the jawbones of younger patients are still developing. For adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may make orthognathic surgery possible to align the jawbones. Other differences include:

  • Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease) — Adults are more likely than children to experience gum recession or even bone loss due to gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease. Patients with straighter teeth are less likely to get gum disease.
  • Worn or missing teeth — Over time teeth can become worn down and shift into different positions that can only be corrected with orthodontic care. Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift and tilt, creating a bad bite and increasing the possibility of gum disease.
  • Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Many adults received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, but never completed their treatment. As an adult, they choose to complete their orthodontic treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they always wanted.

Our practice also recognizes that adults and children have different needs, and require a different level of attention and care. We will work with you to ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatments, and that your needs are met with understanding and respect from us.


  • Straight teeth are healthy teeth — Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean with flossing and brushing, and may help prevent other health problems.
  • A beautiful, straight smile builds confidence — Orthodontic treatment can help boost your self-confidence, giving you a better quality of life and the freedom to smile without holding back!
  • Mouths left untreated can get worse — Not receiving orthodontic treatment when it’s needed can create long-term health issues costing you more in the end.

To learn more about the benefits of adult orthodontics, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment. We understand that you have a busy schedule, and we will work with you to make sure each office visit is as convenient as possible.

Clear Braces for Orthodontic Discretion

December 11th, 2020

Getting braces can be a difficult decision. You want to have straight teeth and an amazing smile, but you don’t want a mouth that is full of metal. This can especially hold true if you are a teenager or you are an adult working in the professional world.

Fortunately, there have been many changes over the years in the field of orthodontics. You don’t have to go with traditional braces that involve metal brackets and wires. Clear braces offer you orthodontic discretion and another option as you begin the journey to properly aligned teeth. Your mouth will thank you.

How Do Clear Braces Work? 

These braces use brackets that look like metal brackets, but they are clear. They are usually ceramic when they are clear. Some people choose to have brackets that match the color of their teeth. Your clear braces will work in the same way as traditional braces, but no one will notice them while you are undergoing treatment.

Why Choose Clear Braces?

Clear braces are a wise choice if you are really worried about other people noticing your teeth or you are self-conscious. No matter what, it is a good decision to have orthodontic correction. Braces will bring your teeth into alignment, making it easier for you to keep your teeth clean. You can also stave off serious problems like TMJ disorders and sleep apnea. Most importantly of all, your new smile will give you confidence in yourself every time you flash your pearly whites.

You Have Options

You need to remember that there are many alternatives that are available to you for orthodontic correction. You could go with clear braces, clear aligners or self-ligating braces. You and our orthodontists can find a way to get the smile that you want to see. Your treatment plan will depend on what will work best for you.

Talk to Our Orthodontists About Clear Braces

Clear braces could be the answer you are looking for to finally have an incredible smile. Make an appointment to see our orthodontist at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn to discuss clear braces. You’ll be examined and you can expect medical imagery to be used to pinpoint your problems with your teeth. Once our orthodontists have a clear picture of what is happening with your teeth, it will be possible to choose a treatment plan. Ask about clear braces and find out how this option can help you to have a smile transformation that is discreet. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

Life with Braces: Important Considerations

December 11th, 2020

Having an attractive smile is an important part of having a successful life. The importance of having an attractive smile cannot be overstated. Your smile is one of the most prominent features on your face.

The primary way that people get their teeth straightened is through braces. As anyone who has worn braces for a couple of years can tell you, life with braces brings about some changes. There are certain things that you need to consider while you’re wearing braces that you do not have to think about before you get braces. It is good to take the time to think about how wearing braces will impact your life and compare that impact with the benefits that getting braces will provide.

Before getting braces, sit down and talk to our orthodontists. Ask them whether or not they think you should get braces and the type of braces they recommend. Make sure to ask questions about extractions or jaw surgeries that you might need.

You also need to be realistic about your expectations regarding your life with braces. You need to understand that once you have braces applied, they are in your mouth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will affect the types of food you can eat, they will affect the way that people look at you and they may have an impact on your speech.

A good question to ask our orthodontists is whether or not Invisalign® or some other invisible form of braces will work. It is also good to ask whether you will need upper braces, lower braces or both. Also, ask about whether or not you will need to use rubber bands to correct your bite, or if you will need headgear or some other appliance.

A big question to ask is how treatment will affect your facial profile. Most people do not realize how big of a role their teeth play in the shape of their face.

It is good to ask how long you will need to wear the braces. It is not uncommon for people to need braces for two years or more. Something else to ask is about the frequency of adjustments. You will need to have time in your schedule to get the adjustments done based on the program that our orthodontist lays out.

It is important to mentally prepare yourself for life with braces. Getting braces is a big deal. It not only changes the way that you look, but while you are wearing the braces, they will change the way that you live your life. When you talk to the experts at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, you can learn more about what to expect with braces. We are located in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule your orthodontic appointment.

Brief Intro to Orthodontic Treatment

December 11th, 2020

Orthodontic treatment is a method used by orthodontists to move and straighten teeth to improve their functioning and the person’s appearance. An orthodontist can help you maintain the good oral health of your gums, jaw joints, teeth and your bite while giving you a bright, beautiful smile. If you have a problem with your smile, we highly encourage you to schedule an appointment at our office to get an intro to orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontia is a special branch of dentistry that deals with improper bites and crooked teeth. An orthodontist must undergo special training after finishing dental school. He or she may extract some teeth and use braces, clear aligners and retainers to put the teeth in the right position.

Orthodontic treatment is usually recommended for people who have crooked or crowded teeth. Some people have prominent front teeth that stick out of the mouth and push the upper lip. These teeth may be easily damaged, but can be put back in line with orthodontic treatment.

The way the upper and lower jaw meet is called the bite. When this is not correct, the tooth enamel can wear away faster than normal and food may not be chewed properly. This condition can lead to cosmetic concerns as well.

It is recommended for children to visit an orthodontist early as an intro to orthodontic treatment so any of the above problems can be diagnosed before they become more serious and difficult to treat. Most people have orthodontic treatment during their teenage years, but more and more adults are starting to get the treatment that they wish they had had as a child.

When you have a consultation with our specialists, you may have a full examination. You will be given your options for treatment. Adults may start treatment immediately, but children may need to wait until they have enough permanent teeth.

Braces are the most common intro to orthodontic treatment. They are available in metal, ceramic or clear plastic. The metal and ceramic braces have brackets and wires that push and pull your teeth into the correct position. Clear bisphenol A-free plastic aligners are almost impossible to see and also gradually move teeth into the correct position. The aligners are custom-made and a new one is worn every two weeks. They are removable and there are no dietary restrictions. The teeth can be cleaned in the usual way.

Metal and ceramic braces work the same way. Ceramic braces may be tooth-colored and difficult to see. Braces are smaller than they were 40 years ago and self-ligating technology works faster to deliver healthy results. There are dietary restrictions because some hard foods may break the wires or brackets and sticky food will be difficult to remove. Special instructions will be given for cleaning.

To find out the right orthodontic treatment for your oral issues, visit Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. We want to help you achieve the smile you have always wanted. Contact us today to book your appointment.

Popular Braces for Teens

December 11th, 2020

It’s time to break the news to your teen. Your dentist has recommended that you see an orthodontist for treatment that goes beyond dental issues. You’ve already noticed issues with your teenager’s teeth, whether there has been a problem with crowding, too much space, the bite or the alignment.

Braces can help your teen to have a beautiful smile. There are many options today that can make orthodontic treatment easier. The teen years are a difficult time when kids are self-conscious about their appearance and they want to fit in. Remind your teen of the end goal and a reason to smile all of the time with an amazing set of teeth. Consider all of the popular options for braces for teens to get your child motivated for orthodontic treatment.


This is one of the most popular forms of orthodontic treatment for teens and adults. It involves wearing clear aligners that are made out of medical-grade plastic. They are durable and will stand up to the test. Best of all, they are barely noticeable.

Invisalign® aligners are tailored for your teen’s mouth through the use of 3D imagery. They are switched on a two-week basis to gently shift your teen’s teeth into the proper position. They should be worn for at least 22 hours every day to be most effective. However, they can be removed for oral hygiene, meals, social gatherings or sporting events.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces consist of brackets that look just like the self-ligating brackets made out of metal. However, they can be clear or the same color as your teen’s teeth. Even the wire can be the same color as your child’s teeth to make orthodontic treatment nearly invisible.

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces have brackets that apply tension to the wires and your teen’s teeth without a need for rubber bands. They gently go to work to move your teen’s teeth in the right direction to have that smile that will light up a room.

Talk to Our Orthodontists About Popular Braces for Teens 

Our experts at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics are your best source of information when it comes to any type of orthodontic treatment. Make an appointment for your teen at our office in Oak Lawn. Our orthodontists will begin by evaluating your teen’s teeth to have a clear idea of where to start. At that point, you can discuss all of the options for braces that will be effective for your child.

Ask about the most popular choices of braces for teens and find the treatment method that will get optimal results as soon as possible. Get ready to see your teen flash those pearly whites when braces have done the trick. Contact us today to book your teen’s appointment.

Early Orthodontic Treatment: Things to Consider

December 11th, 2020

Interceptive orthodontics is a branch of orthodontics that treats young children. It is also known as early orthodontic treatment. It can start when the child is as young as seven years old.

Why So Young?

There are several arguments in favor of early orthodontic treatment. First off, a child’s permanent teeth start growing in when they’re around six or seven. At that age, orthodontic problems, like crowding or a misaligned bite, become apparent. Many authorities recommend taking a child to the orthodontist for a screening when they’re seven years old for that reason.

A young child’s jaw is still growing, and the bones are soft and flexible. That makes correcting many orthodontic problems simpler. For example, some children have an abnormally narrow palate or upper jaw. That can cause problems like a cross bite or crowding; in severe cases, it can even interfere with breathing. Since narrow palates do not get better on their own, orthodontic intervention is necessary.

The palate consists of two bones that don’t fuse until the child is in their early or middle teens. Fixing a narrow palate in a preteen is relatively simple; they wear a retainer-like device called a palatal expander that gradually widens their jaw. Treatment generally takes three or six months. By contrast, an older teen or adult with a narrow palate has to undergo jaw surgery.

Reasons for Early Orthodontic Treatment

After the screening, the orthodontist will recommend treatment if he or she finds any of the following:

  • Late loss of baby teeth and/or early loss of adult teeth
  • Thumb sucking in a child over five
  • An unbalanced look to the face
  • Trouble chewing
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Misaligned jaws
  • Narrow palate
  • Crowded, impacted or misplaced teeth
  • Biting into the roof of the mouth or the cheeks
  • Open bite
  • Protruding front teeth
  • Bruxism

What is Maxillary Protraction? 

Maxillary protraction is a technique used to treat underbites that are caused by a receding upper jaw. As with palatal expanders, it works best on young children, for their jaws are still growing. Treatment typically takes months, and the orthodontist will periodically examine the child to ensure their jaw is still growing normally.

Can Early Orthodontic Treatment Prevent the Need for Braces? 

Unfortunately, no. In most cases, the child will still need braces. Interceptive orthodontics, however, can lessen the time the child will need to wear them. It will also reduce the likelihood of the child needing to have teeth extracted before getting braces.

Learn More During an Appointment

At Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we offer a two-phase plan in which the child undergoes a treatment like maxillary protraction or palatal expansion when they’re little and gets braces a few years later. During a consultation at our office in Oak Lawn, we can examine your child’s mouth and come up with a treatment plan that is right for them. Early orthodontic treatment is often the key to a beautiful adult smile. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child.

Types of Braces

December 11th, 2020

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces are made from the same materials as traditional braces. However, self-ligating braces do not require the use of elastics, meaning fewer appointments and less friction being placed on the tooth. Self-ligating braces come with traditional metal, ceramic, or clear brackets. They are the same size as metal braces, but use a specialized clip in place of elastics to help the archwire guide teeth into place. The clip helps reduce the amount of pressure being placed on the tooth, and requires fewer adjustments because there are no elastics to replace.

Clear (Ceramic) Braces

Ceramic braces are made of clear materials and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and are more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth like braces. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment, plus brushing and flossing are less of a hassle. The aligners are comfortable and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment.

Tips for Flossing with Braces

December 11th, 2020

Very few teenagers are excited to get braces. However, as any adult who had braces as a teenager understands, the temporary discomfort that comes from having braces is well worth it if it means that as an adult you have perfectly straight teeth and an attractive smile. Taking steps when you are young to improve your smile is an investment in your future.

That being said, wearing braces and maintaining good dental health while wearing them can be difficult. For example, flossing with braces is frustrating. It can almost feel like you are trying to thread a needle. However, there are certain steps that you can take to make flossing easier while wearing braces.

For example, purchasing an orthodontic floss threader will help. These devices are very inexpensive. It is a tool that is disposable, and you can purchase it anywhere you can buy a toothbrush. The nice thing about this device is that it allows you to pull the floss through your teeth above the wire. This lets you get to the gum line and remove any food that is stuck in your teeth.

Parents will need to take special care with their younger children when it comes to flossing with braces. Younger children who have braces may not have the determination or the dexterity needed to floss around braces effectively. As you help your child floss their teeth, you may have them sit or kneel in a comfortable position. If your child has a hard time sitting still for an extended period of time, put their favorite cartoon on the television as you help them floss their teeth.

Choosing the right dental floss will go a long way in helping you maintain good dental health while wearing braces. Dental floss comes in two varieties. There is the waxed floss and the non-waxed floss. If you use non-waxed floss, you’re going to have the frustration that comes from shreds of dental floss getting stuck in your braces. However, if you use waxed floss and you also purchase the floss threading device mentioned earlier, you’re going to be able to easily slip the dental floss between your teeth. It’s not going to catch. And as you gently slide the floss up and down the gum line, you’re going to remove debris that has been caught in your teeth, thereby improving your dental health.

Wearing braces is frustrating. That’s not up for debate. When you are wearing braces, you’re doing it because you are investing in your future. However, if you are not diligent while flossing with braces, you may have less than stellar results in the future when the braces come off. Flossing regularly is important when you are wearing braces because it will prevent gingivitis and plaque accumulation.

During your appointment for braces at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, you can learn all the facts about flossing with braces. We are located in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.

Common Types of Braces for Kids

December 11th, 2020

When it comes time to straighten your child’s teeth with braces, you will actually be presented with quite a few options. Your child might be eligible for everything from self-ligating braces to alignment trays. Every single one of these devices has its own pros and cons, and it is important for parents to carry out some research so they know exactly what type of braces for kids will be most beneficial for their child.

What Can Be Treated with Braces?

Daily brushing and flossing will reduce your child’s risk of gum disease and tooth decay, but it will not prevent malocclusion. This is a medical term that is used to describe any misalignment of a patient’s teeth, including gaps, overbites, underbites and an overcrowded smile.

In addition to causing cosmetic problems, these issues can produce a number of unhealthy side effects ranging from sleep apnea to speech impediments. Treating a patient’s malocclusion while they are still a child will often help them to avoid these side effects before they ever develop.

Self-Ligating Braces

These braces are unique in that they do not require the use of elastics, which usually results in less friction for the patient. Self-ligating braces use a clip instead of elastics in order to reposition the teeth. These types of braces can have metal or ceramic (clear) brackets.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces have become quite popular in recent years because they have many of the same benefits as metal braces, but they are not quite as visible. These devices can be made from various materials that are either translucent or stained to match the natural color of the patient’s teeth. The primary drawback of ceramic braces is that they are much more fragile than their metal counterparts. 

Alignment Trays

Depending on the age of your child and the extent of their malocclusion, they might be eligible for alignment trays. Instead of using brackets and wires to pull the teeth into the correct position, clear trays apply a gentle amount of pressure to align the smile. Younger children are not always the best candidates for alignment trays because these devices can easily be taken out, lost or completely forgotten.

Learn More About Braces for Kids

To get more information about each of these types of braces for kids, visit Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. Our staff is happy to answer any questions you may have. When you and your child first meet with our orthodontist, you will be provided with a comprehensive list of the advantages and disadvantages of each of these straightening systems. Contact us today to schedule a consultation for your child.

Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment

December 11th, 2020


Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that combines tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your child’s life.


Putting off treatment can result in a need for more invasive treatment later in life that may not completely fix your child’s smile. Early treatment is most effective for achieving lasting results.


A Foundation for a Lifetime of Beautiful Smiles

The goal of Phase One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all of the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is growing too much or is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. If children over the age of six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. Also, if children around the age of eight have crowded front teeth, early treatment can prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later.

  • Planning now can save your childs smile later. Children benefit tremendously from early-phase treatment. Receiving early treatment may prevent the removal of permanent teeth later in life or the need for surgical procedures to realign the jaws.
  • Making records to determine your childs unique treatment. Orthodontic records will be necessary to determine the type of appliances to be used, the duration of treatment time, and the frequency of visits. Records consist of models of the teeth, X-rays, and photographs. During your child’s initial consultation, the doctor will take records to determine if early treatment is necessary.


In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are left alone as they erupt. Retaining devices may not be recommended if they would interfere with eruption. It is best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement. A successful first phase will have created room for permanent teeth to find an eruption path. Otherwise, they may become impacted or severely displaced.

  • Monitoring the teeths progress. At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment. Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this resting phase. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a six-month basis.


Stay healthy and look attractive

The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase Two usually involves full upper and lower braces.

At the beginning of the first phase, orthodontic records were made and a diagnosis and treatment plan was established. Certain types of appliances were used in the first phase to correct and realign the teeth and jaw. The second phase begins when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure your child retains his or her beautiful smile.

Orthodontic Retention: Is It Really Necessary?

December 11th, 2020

Orthodontic braces are used, of course, to straighten teeth by gradually moving them into their correct position. After the orthodontist removes the braces, they want to make sure that the teeth do not drift back to their old positions. They will therefore have their patient wear a retainer. Often times, patients ask, “Is orthodontic retention really needed?” The answer is a resounding yes!

What is a Retainer?

A retainer is an orthodontic appliance designed to hold teeth in position after they have been realigned. It is often used after orthodontic treatment or surgery. They are most commonly used before and after braces. 

Types of Orthodontic Retention

The bonded or fixed retainer is now the most common type. It is simply a wire glued to the back of the patient’s teeth. Unlike other retainers, the patient can’t remove it. Orthodontists generally recommend fixed retainers for patients whose orthodontic treatments have wrought dramatic changes that are likely to come undone without further treatment. Many orthodontists leave the bonded retainer in place until after the patient’s wisdom teeth come in, which usually happens when they are in their late teens or early twenties. Some people wear their bonded retainers for life.

The Hawley retainer is probably the oldest and best-known type of retainer. Named for its inventor, Dr. Charles Hawley, it consists of plastic and wires. It is most often worn on the upper teeth, and the wire is usually designed to surround the six front teeth and keep them in place. The plastic or acrylic part sits in the roof of the patient’s mouth. Hawley retainers are removable, and the orthodontist can adjust the wire. Hawley retainers are also durable and easy to clean.

Essix or invisible retainers look a bit like Invisalign® braces, and are often used by patients who used Invisalign®. Essix retainers are made from a clear plastic and slip over the patient’s teeth. They can be designed to cover either all of the teeth or just the front teeth. The last type is sometimes called a “clip-on” retainer. Like the Hawley retainer, the Essix retainer is removable, so the patient can take it out when eating. This type of orthodontic retention offers more discretion than a traditional retainer.

How Long Do People Wear Retainers?

The length of time varies, but most patients wear a retainer for at least a year after getting their braces removed. If the patient has a removable retainer, they will likely be told to wear it almost constantly at first. As their treatment progresses, the orthodontist will have them wear it less and less. Most people have to wear a retainer for 18 to 30 months.

 Care of the Retainer

Patients with removable retainers need to bring them to all dental check-ups. Retainers also need to be carefully cleaned so they don’t attract a lot of bacteria. The patient should use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste. They should not use tartar control toothpaste for the job, since it contains abrasives that could damage the retainer.

Learn More About Orthodontic Retention

To find out more about the importance of orthodontic retention for maintaining a beautiful smile, visit Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. We will help answer all of your questions and address any concerns you may have. Contact us today to schedule your orthodontic appointment.

What is the Purpose of a Palatal Expander?

December 11th, 2020

A palatal expander is an orthodontic device used to enlarge the palate. It is used to treat crossbites, crowding and other dental problems caused by an abnormally narrow palate. The device puts gentle pressure on the upper molars until the desired expansion is accomplished.

How Does It Work? 

The maxilla, which consists of the upper jaw and palate, includes two bones that don’t completely fuse until the patient is in their teens. The bones fuse in an area called the midline suture that is located in the middle of the palate. Increasing the distance between the two bones makes the palate bigger and provides more room for the adult teeth. It also causes the body to produce new bone at the midline suture, and those deposits maintain the increased size of the palate.

The palatal expander is a metal, custom-made appliance. It has two halves attached to each other by a screw device. The expander has brackets that are placed over teeth on either side of the patient’s mouth. The expander also comes with a special key that can be inserted into the screw device. Every day, the patient or their parent turns the screw a tiny amount to gradually widen the palate.

The patient will wear the palatal expander until their palate has reached and stabilized at the desired size. Most patients will wear a palatal expander for three to six months. Palatal expanders are typically used on children between five and sixteen years old. They are mainly only effective on patients whose maxilla bones have not yet completely fused.

Types of Palatal Expanders

There are various types of palatal expanders; however, they all have the same end goal in mind. The palatal expander used will depend on the size of the palate among other factors. Certain expanders work best for patients who only need to have their palates widened a little, while patients with more severe cases should get other types of palatal expanders.

Learning More Information About a Palatal Expander

During a consultation at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we can assess the condition of your palate and help you determine if a palatal expander can benefit you. This unique device may be all that it takes to give you the smile you have been wanting for so long. We are conveniently located in Oak Lawn. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to get all the facts about what a palatal expander can do for you.

Types of Orthodontic Appliances

December 11th, 2020

Visiting the orthodontist can be a somewhat intimidating experience. Mentions of a dizzying array of dental devices can prove very confusing, which is why it can help to familiarize yourself with some of the more common types of orthodontic appliances in anticipation of your visit.


Elastics are simply rubber bands used in orthodontic treatments like braces. Incorrect wearing of elastics is the main reason for treatment delays and poor outcomes. The upper and lower teeth can be straightened in the office, but elastics are normally what enhance the fitting of the upper and lower teeth.

Wear your elastics according to instructions, and keep in mind that proper wearing of elastics ensure that your braces will come off as fast as possible.


Headgear is a type of orthodontic appliance used in treating those with an overbite, which is where the upper jaw juts out beyond the lower jaw. It can also be used to correct an underbite, where the lower jaw juts beyond the upper jaw. Headgear is being used less frequently these days, but still helps in the treatment of certain conditions.


Retainers come in a variety of designs and may be fixed or removable. Their purpose is to ensure that your teeth remain in their correct positions following the straightening of the teeth.

You will be instructed how to care for them and how long you should wear them. It is important that you wear your retainer as instructed to guard against relapse and so that your investment is protected for a lifetime.

Spacers or Separators

Separators are small appliances that resemble rubber doughnuts. Separators are put in between teeth, which pushes them apart to allow for the placement of orthodontic bands. When the bands are ready for placement, the separators are removed. They do not work well with toothpicks, sticky foods, or dental floss.

If you have had separators placed, you should know that it is normal to experience some discomfort for several days, however, the discomfort will subside if you wear them as directed. Over-the-counter pain relievers should help minimize the discomfort.

Distal Jet Appliance

The distal jet is a type of orthodontic appliance that gradually shifts the upper molars back further into the mouth, creating the necessary space for eruption. The distal jet consists of three main parts: metal parts resting around the teeth; an acrylic piece fitting on the roof of the mouth; and a spring part connecting the acrylic to metal bands around the molars.

The distal jet appliance affects both swallowing and speech for a short time after it is inserted, but you should rapidly adjust to the change. If you experience any discomfort or sore spots in your mouth, a rinse with warm salt water should help. You should take care to follow proper oral hygiene to keep your appliance as clean as you can. This prevents irritation and gum tissue swelling and the buildup of plaque.

Learn More

To find out more about the different types of orthodontic appliances, contact us in Oak Lawn. Schedule a consultation today with Petty & Bielik Orthodontics to find out which of these types would be the best fit for you.

Brushing with Braces: Things to Consider

December 11th, 2020

As anyone who has had the unique experience of wearing braces knows, keeping your teeth clean while wearing braces can be a challenge. One of the biggest embarrassments a person who wears braces can have is when a colleague or a friend informs them that they have a little piece of leftover lunch stuck in their braces.

When you are wearing braces, you need to put forth extra effort not only to keep your teeth clean, but also to prevent tooth decay and gingivitis. Part of the care comes from watching what you eat. You have to avoid sticky foods, crunchy foods and foods that are high in sugar.

You also must be meticulous when it comes to brushing with braces. An individual without braces is encouraged to brush their teeth twice a day. That’s what your dentist tells you. However, since you are wearing braces, you need to brush your teeth every time you eat something. This means that you have to brush your teeth after breakfast, lunch, dinner and after having that mid-afternoon snack or sneaking out to the vending machine to purchase something. This is because food particles will find their way into your braces. The longer the food sits there, the higher the chance of decay beginning. Most orthodontists recommend that patients use a brush with soft bristles.

The first step in brushing your teeth with braces is to rinse out your mouth. As we said, there’s going to be a bunch of food that’s stuck in hidden crevices on your braces. Once you get the food out, start brushing your teeth at a 45-degree angle to your gum. Make sure to get below the bracket line and above the bracket line. Then focus your attention on brushing the brackets themselves. Use a downward angle for the top of the brackets and an upward angle for the bottom of the brackets. Rinse your mouth out again thoroughly to remove any food that you dislodged during the brushing process.

Brushing is just the start of the battle. Now comes flossing. Thankfully, you do not need to floss after every meal. But you do need to floss at least once a day. Your flossing should include between your teeth and underneath the wires. Talk to our orthodontist about a specialized mechanism that will make flossing a lot easier.

After you have finished flossing, use a mouthwash designed to kill bacteria. This will help reach any spaces brushing and flossing did not reach.

What if you give into the temptation to eat your favorite snack when you do not have a toothbrush available? Then you will need to improvise. Find water and vigorously rinse out your mouth. If you have mouthwash, that’s even better. As soon as you get the chance, brush your teeth.

Wearing braces can be a challenge, but it is a temporary one. Get the best results from your orthodontic treatment by caring for your teeth properly while you wear braces. Brushing with braces may require a little extra work, but the end result is always worth it.

Located in Oak Lawn, Petty & Bielik Orthodontics is committed to helping patients achieve their dream smile. Practicing the proper brushing habits while wearing your braces is crucial to achieving the desired look. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more about caring for your braces.

Benefits of the iTero Scanner

December 11th, 2020

In the not-so-distant past, dental and orthodontic procedures meant to replace or straighten teeth included the use of messy powders and potentially gag-inducing PVS impression materials. This uncomfortable molding process resulted in improperly fitted crowns, mouth guards and other prosthetic devices that did not match a patient’s bite.

New technology like the state-of-the-art iTero® scanner enables dentists and orthodontists to provide a higher level of care. This dental device eliminates the need for making impressions that were once essential for providing an accurate fit for Invisalign® clear braces. In addition to making the process of measuring a patient’s mouth easier and more comfortable, the scanner also provides a higher degree of accuracy.

The iTero® wand utilizes precise imaging technology that captures the smallest details inside a patient’s mouth. The wand instantaneously transmits thousands of detailed images to the base station. Computer technology processes the image data into a 3D model that can be updated in real time. This high-tech process eliminates the time-consuming, traditional method of creating a mold impression from gradually hardening materials or a cumbersome machine. These antiquated methods often made the patient uncomfortable, which could significantly alter the results of the impressions.

Patients may also have had to adjust their mouths and bites to accommodate the mold and remain stationary so the doctor could obtain the best image. This may have resulted in an impression that differed from the patient’s normal bite pattern, which could make dental appliances fit incorrectly. The iTero® scanner eliminates these potential problems.

This newer technology allows for more accuracy and impressions that are less prone to error. The iTero® scanner is faster and requires fewer retakes. The prosthetic devices can be produced quicker and require less fine-tuning, which improves patient comfort and satisfaction. Since the digital scan can also be sent directly to a lab, the process saves time and improves communication between the care provider and the device manufacturer.

If you need braces for misaligned teeth or other dental work, schedule an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. We will conduct an examination. Based on the results, our doctor will discuss the best course of treatment available to you. This may include the use of an iTero® scanner to create a custom-made mold.

Our professional staff will explain the process and ensure that you are comfortable throughout the treatment. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

The Importance of Wearing a Retainer After Braces

December 11th, 2020

It’s a very exciting day when a teenager is able to get their braces taken off. However, they may be surprised when the orthodontist hands them another apparatus. Yes, the braces have come off, but now you have to wear a retainer.

The very first question that a lot of teenagers ask their orthodontist when he or she hands them a retainer is, “Why?” They just got their braces off, so why do they need to wear a retainer? The simple fact is that once orthodontic treatments are finished, a retainer is the only thing that can hold your teeth in their new position.

Once the teenager understands why they need to wear a retainer, the next question relates to how often they have to wear it. The honest answer is that it takes time. The bone and the tissue that surround your teeth need time to reorganize. Your teeth have been in a crooked position for many years, and so the bone and tissue around your teeth are accustomed to being in that position and want to return to it. If a teenager does not wear their retainer during the first months after the braces are removed, they have an extremely high chance of their teeth returning to their previous crooked position.

If a teenager does not use their retainer in a faithful way, their teeth will move back to their original position, and they will need to wear braces again to correct them. In most cases, a retainer is worn for as long as the patient used braces. This means that if it took two years to straighten your teeth, you’re going to need to wear a retainer for two years.

Retainers come in different shapes and sizes. Some are removable, and some are fixed to the back and front of the patient’s teeth. In most cases, you will need to use your retainer full-time for the first six months after braces. Once the first six months have passed, you may only need to wear it at night. If our orthodontists decide that you need a fixed retainer, then it should be kept in place for at least five years.

As any teenager knows, getting braces is a journey. However, the results are so worth it. Having straight teeth and a beautiful smile can open so many doors of opportunity as you go through life. Wearing a retainer is just a mild inconvenience when compared to the benefits of having straight and attractive teeth.

Just as every person’s smile is unique, each patient’s retention plan is different. During an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, our well-trained orthodontists can help you determine a plan of action for your smile after your braces come off. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.

Braces for Adults – It’s Never Too Late for a Great Smile

December 11th, 2020

If your teeth are crooked or crowded, you may think the time to get them fixed passed once you graduated high school. While many people do get their teeth aligned with braces in their teens, there is no reason you can’t have braces as an adult. If you’re not happy with the appearance of your teeth or you’ve been advised that a poor bite is causing uneven tooth wear or jaw pain, braces for adults may be just what you need to give you a great smile and correct any misalignment you may have. 

The Myth and Reality of Age and Pliability

It is mistakenly believed by plenty of people that an adult’s teeth cannot be moved as a teen’s can because adult bones and tissues are harder. As with many old wives’ tales, a scrap of truth got lost in translation.

It is true that teens have more pliable bodies, but the difference between a teen and an adult is not as large as the myth may lead you to believe. For example, a teen and an adult may have the exact same crowding issue. The teen will finish with their braces in 18 months while the adult may need them for 22 months. In both cases, the teeth will certainly move and a great outcome can be achieved for both patients.

Treatment Compliance and Results 

Another factor that swings in adults’ favor is that adults are far more compliant with their treatment plans and instructions than children. For example, teens will often eat foods they know they shouldn’t and balk at wearing headgear, elastic bands or retainers. Adults, on the other hand, want the results and do what it takes to get them. For this reason, adults often progress through their treatment faster than a teenager would.

Braces for Adults: Several Options Available 

Not everyone needs metal braces to correct their dental issues. Clear self-ligating braces and appliances such as Invisalign® are options. Our orthodontists will go over all of your options with you to formulate a treatment plan that will get you the results you want. If you don’t feel comfortable getting bright silver metal braces, you likely won’t need to.

If you are unhappy with your smile, you’re not too old to get braces. Braces for adults can help you achieve results that are every bit as good as those achieved by teenagers. If you’d like to learn more about your options, schedule an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. Our orthodontic team will be happy to help you determine which type of orthodontic treatment is right for you. Contact us today to book your appointment.


Self-Ligating Braces

December 11th, 2020

Self-ligating braces are made from the same materials as traditional braces; however, self-ligating braces do not require the use of elastics, meaning fewer appointments and less friction being placed on the tooth. Self-ligating braces come with traditional metal or ceramic (clear) brackets. They are the same size as metal braces, but with more options they can provide a more aesthetic appearance, particularly for adult patients.


Self-ligating braces use a specialized clip in place of elastics to help the archwire guide teeth into place. The clip helps reduce the amount of pressure being placed on the tooth, and decreases the number of adjustments because there are no elastics to replace.


  • Passive — Passive brackets use a smaller archwire that creates less friction and allows teeth to move more freely. Passive brackets are often used at the beginning of treatment to help the teeth start moving into position.
  • Active — Active brackets use a much thicker archwire that delivers greater pressure to the teeth and more aggressively moves them into position. The active brackets also offer more control for consistent, strong results.

Self-ligating braces are a great option for patients needing braces. Your orthodontist can help you determine what type of braces will be most effective for your smile. Please contact our practice to schedule your orthodontic consultation.

Discreetly Enhance Your Smile with Invisalign

December 11th, 2020

As an adult, you know how important it is to have a beautiful smile. Your smile is one of the most noticeable of all of your features. Whether you are going for an interview, working with clients or have a social gathering, you want a smile that you can count on. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It is never too late to enhance your smile, and you can do so without traditional braces. Invisalign® will make you want to flash your pearly whites everywhere you go once your treatment is over.

How Invisalign® Differs from Traditional Braces 

When you consider orthodontic treatment, the first thing that is likely to come to your mind is a mouth full of metal brackets and wires. While traditional braces are still a popular option, you have plenty of choices. Thanks to exciting advances in the field of orthodontics, you can now choose Invisalign® for orthodontic treatment. Teens and adults are leaning toward this option because it is practically invisible.

With Invisalign®, our orthodontists will create clear aligners that are customized to fit your teeth. A type of medical-grade plastic is used that is safe for your mouth and durable. The aligners are switched every two weeks to accommodate subtle adjustments in your mouth.

What are the Advantages of Invisalign®? 

With Invisalign®, you have more flexibility. You can remove your aligners when you are cleaning your teeth or if you have a sporting event. If you are planning a special occasion, you can remove your aligners and replace them later. It’s important to remember that you should wear them for at least 22 hours every day. You’ll find that the aligners are comfortable and you won’t even notice them once you get used to them. Others won’t notice them either.

Orthodontic Treatment Offers You More than a Nice Smile

When you choose Invisalign®, you will be getting more than a nicely adjusted set of teeth. When your teeth are properly aligned, it makes it easier to keep your teeth clean. You’ll have a healthier mouth. You may also avoid other problems that are the result of an improper bite, such as sleep apnea or a TMJ disorder. When you agree to orthodontic treatment, you are taking care of your teeth and your health at the same time.

Discuss Invisalign® with Our Orthodontists

Set up a consultation about Invisalign® at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. During your appointment, you’ll be able to discuss your goals for your smile. Our orthodontists can evaluate your teeth and determine if you are a good candidate for Invisalign®. Contact us today to schedule your orthodontic appointment!

(708) 636-2900 4233 W 95th St, Oak Lawn, IL 60453